Lake Erie Conservative

thoughtful discussion(s) about issue(s)

Posts Tagged ‘Andrew C. McCarthy’

… What ?!?! [#khorosan]…

Posted by paulfromwloh on Saturday,October 4th,2014

.. they do not exist ?? ..

.. it appears that this is the case ..

.. the ObamaCraps do not exactly have a great deal of credibility in ational security matters . Guess why ?? ….

.. [h/t — m.NationalReview.com]..
.. [link] to the opinion column ..

.. I do not take Andy McCarthy ‘ s word as Gospel . Well , it is pretty close to that . He has sources inside the defense , intel , and media establishments that most bloggers can only dream about . He is also a very careful man , double / checking things before he speaks …

.. so , what do you think ? His Lordship got caught lying , in order to minimize the problem …. again ! … would anyone be surprised ?? …

Advertisements

Posted in personal opinion | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

… The Power of the Purse [The House ‘ s Power on Spending Bills] …

Posted by paulfromwloh on Friday,October 4th,2013

LEC here — initially , I was skeptical of Andrew ‘ s arguments . I have been following the debate between him , Ed Whelan , and Matt Franck (the latter two in National Review ‘ s Bench – Memos) . Since I have read through this , plus the Constitutional debates , plus the Heritage Foundation position paper (always a dandy , but especially in this case) , I am now convinced of his

Elbridge Gerry (1744–1814), American statesman

Elbridge Gerry (1744–1814), American statesman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

argument .

.. I am a big Andrew McCarthy fan . I am very thankful for his service , especially for his work in the Department of Justice as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the initial World Trade Center Bombing trials .

.. You can also find Andrew at PJMedia . He writes a regular column there …

The Origins of the Origination ClauseThe House’s power of the purse includes spending bills.
By Andrew C. McCarthy
In a Bench Memos post, my friend Matt Franck objects to the contention in my column for last weekend that the Constitution’s Origination Clause (Art. I, Sec. 7) gives the House of Representatives primacy over spending as well as taxing. Matt claims that my interpretation is bereft of historical support, a defect I’m said to camouflage by an extravagant reading of an “at best . . . ambiguous” passage in Madison’s Federalist No. 58.
It is Matt’s history, though, that is incomplete. As Mark Steyn observes, there is a rich Anglo-American tradition of vesting authority over not merely taxing but also spending in the legislative body closest to the people. This tradition, stretching back nearly to the Magna Carta, inspired the Origination Clause. It also informed Madison, whose ruminations, besides being far from ambiguous on the House’s power of the purse, are entitled to great weight — not only because he was among the Constitution’s chief architects but also because his explication of the Framers’ design helped induce skeptics of centralized government and its tyrannical proclivities to adopt the Constitution.

Plainly, Matt is correct that the Origination Clause refers to “bills for raising revenue.” From the time it was debated at the

James Madison

James Madison (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Philadelphia convention, however, the concept at issue clearly referred to more than tax bills. It was about reposing in the people, through their most immediately accountable representatives, the power of the purse. Indeed, the term persistently used throughout the Framers’ debates was “money bills” — the phrase used by Elbridge Gerry, perhaps the principal advocate of the Origination Clause, when (as the debate records recount) he “moved to restrain the Senatorial branch from originating money bills. The other branch [i.e., the House] was more immediately the representatives of the people, and it was a maxim that the people ought to hold the purse-strings.”

Matt portrays my position as eccentric. Nevertheless, the belief that the Origination Clause conveys the House’s holding of the purse strings — i.e., that it refers to the output as well as the intake of government revenue — is hardly unique to me. The Heritage Foundation’s Guide to the Constitution, for example, notes that the clause was meant to be “consistent with the English requirement that money bills must commence in the House of Commons.” Traditionally, that requirement aggregated taxing with spending — the “power over the purse” — which the Framers sought to repose “with the legislative body closer to the people.”

Similarly, the Annenberg Institute for Civics, in its series on the Constitution, instructs students that the Clause means “the House of Representatives must begin the process when it comes to raising and spending money. It is the chamber where all taxing and spending bills start” (emphasis added). To be sure, the lesson goes on to state that “only the House may introduce a bill that involves taxes.” Yet this obviously would not suffice to explain the conclusion that the House must “begin the process” when “spending money” — as well as raising money — is involved. That conclusion, like Madison’s, draws on the fact that the Framers intended to mirror the venerable English tradition of vesting the all-important power of the purse in the people’s direct representatives.

Mark Steyn recounts the Westminster practice, since the mid-17th-century reign of Charles II, that the Commons would not permit the Lords to alter “money bills.” In tracing the practice back much further, I am indebted to Nicholas Schmitz, a Rhodes scholar and Marine veteran who has studied the ancient Anglo roots of the Origination Clause. From his work I’ve learned that it was already solidified custom by the reign of Richard II (1377–99) that “grants” were the province of Commons, albeit, back then, “with the assent of the Lords.”

“Grants” did not refer merely to the extraction of assets by taxation; the term is also concerned with the purpose to which these funds were to be put. England’s 1689 Bill of Rights thus specified that a “grant of Parliament” was a necessary precondition to “levying money for or to the use of the crown.” Such grants were, in essence, appropriations. As the process evolved, the House of Commons structured taxes strictly in accordance with the specific purposes cited by the crown. It was very much a two-sided ledger, with Commons jealously guarding its oversight of both money in and money out.

As a number of the Framers were admirers of Locke, it is also worth remembering Locke’s teaching that governments are formed to protect private property. The concept stems, in part, from the (by then) established understanding that the state could legitimately extract the citizen’s property only by the consent of the people’s representatives for a proper public purpose. That is the foundation of the Origination Clause.

Given these roots, it should come as no surprise that, at the time of the Founding, several of the state constitutions vested in their lower legislative houses the prerogative of, in the words of Georgia’s constitution, initiating “bills for raising revenue or appropriating moneys.” Indeed, in famously supporting colonial opposition to the Stamp Act in 1765, William Pitt observed, “The Commons of America, represented in their several assemblies, have ever been in possession of the exercise of this their constitutional right of giving and granting their own money. They would have been slaves if they had not enjoyed it” (emphasis added).

Maryland’s lower house, to take one example, was responsible for initiating “money bills,” which were defined as “every bill, assessing, levying, or applying taxes or supplies, for the support of government, or the current expenses of the State, or appropriating money in the treasury” (emphasis added). In Massachusetts, the home of Elbridge Gerry, colonial practice was that taxes and “money bills” were the privilege of the House of Representatives, with the upper house empowered only to concur or not concur. The Commonwealth’s 1780 constitution, adumbrating the federal Constitution’s Origination Clause, mandated that “money bills shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments, as on other bills.”

Let’s move directly to the 1787 convention in Philadelphia.

One of the major challenges confronting the delegates was to broker the competing claims of small and large states. As Franklin summarized, “If a proportional representation takes place, the small States contend that their liberties will be in danger. If an equality of votes is to be put in its place, the large States say their money will be in danger.” This resulted, of course, in the great compromise: equality among states in the Senate and proportional representation (by population) in the House. But this arrangement was inadequate to quell the large states’ fears; it was also necessary to tinker with the powers assigned to the two chambers.

As Franklin put it, the Senate would be restricted generally in all appropriations & dispositions of money to be drawn out of the General Treasury; and in all laws for supplying that Treasury, the Delegates of the several States shall have suffrage in aroportion to the Sums which their respective States do actually contribute to the Treasury [emphasis added].
When the Origination Clause was specifically taken up, a spirited debate ensued, with some delegates protesting against restrictions on the Senate. According to Madison’s records, however, what “generally prevailed” was the argument of George Mason:

The consideration which weighed with the Committee was that the 1st branch [i.e., the House of Representatives] would be the immediate representatives of the people, the 2nd [the Senate] would not. Should the latter have the power of giving away the people’s money, they might soon forget the source from whence they received it [emphasis added]. We might soon have an Aristocracy.

Mason’s concerns seem prescient in our era of mammoth national government presided over by an entrenched ruling class of professional politicians. He worried that the Senate is not like the H. of Representatives chosen frequently and obliged to return frequently among the people. They are chosen by the Sts for 6 years, will probably settle themselves at the seat of Government, will pursue schemes for their aggrandizement. . . . If the Senate can originate, they will in the recess of the Legislative Sessions, hatch their mischievous projects, for their own purposes, and have their money bills ready cut & dried, (to use a common phrase) for the meeting of the H. of Representatives. . . . The purse strings should be in the hands of the Representatives of the people.
Yes, the purse strings, not just the power to tax. Concededly, the Origination Clause speaks of bills “for raising revenue.” In selling the Constitution to the nation, though, it was portrayed as securing in the hands of the people’s representatives the power of the purse. It is an empty power if spending is not included.

The relevant paragraph in Madison’s Federalist No. 58 is worth quoting in full (all italics mine):
A constitutional and infallible resource still remains with the larger states by which they will be able at all times to accomplish their just purposes. The House of Representatives cannot only refuse, but they alone can propose the supplies requisite for the support of government. They, in a word, hold the purse — that powerful instrument by which we behold, in the history of the British constitution, an infant and humble representation of the people gradually enlarging the sphere of its activity and importance, and finally reducing, as far as it seems to have wished, all overgrown prerogatives of the other branches of the government. This power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure.

To my mind, what Madison describes unquestionably transcends taxing authority. I believe a “complete and effectual weapon . . . for obtaining a redress of every grievance” must give “the immediate representatives of the people” the power to block funding for a government takeover of health care that was enacted by fraud and strong-arming; that was adamantly represented not to be the tax that the Supreme Court later found it to be; and that is substantially opposed by the people, and has been since its enactment.
Matt begs to differ, relying on the text of the Origination Clause, the reductive construction of “revenue” as mere “taxation,” and Joseph Story’s Commentaries. This is reasonable, and — as Matt has emphasized — it certainly reflects conventional Washington wisdom. But I do not think it gets to the power of the purse that the Framers — and Madison, quite explicitly — were driving at.
In fact, Story’s conclusion that the origination power “has been confined to bills to levy taxes in the strict sense of the word,” and not to ordinary legislation “which may incidentally create revenue,” is an overly narrow interpretation of the clause’s meaning, arrived at by taking out of context a portion of the delegates’ debate that related to two tangential concerns about potential abuse of the origination power. Specifically, Madison worried that the Origination Clause could be read too broadly, thus hampering the Senate’s ability to originate any legislation — since most federal legislation would surely have some conceivable economic consequence. Relatedly, other delegates worried that the House could abuse its origination power by tacking non-revenue legislation onto money bills in order to frustrate the Senate’s ability to make amendments.
The Framers wanted to endow the House with the power of the purse, but did not want to open the door to such shenanigans. Thus the fleeting focus on “incidental” levies: The debates fleshed out the principle that the Origination Clause was intended to apply to bills the patent purpose of which involved public money. That hardly meant, as Story inferred, that the Clause would only ever apply to “bills to levy taxes in the strict sense.” It meant that, in the peculiar situation of ordinary legislation that only incidentally raised money, the Senate would not be impeded by the clause from either initiating or amending such a bill.
I would also note that constricting the House’s Origination Clause power to taxation would render it a nullity — which, admittedly, is how modern Washington treats it. If the Senate is freely permitted to originate appropriations that increase our already olympian debt through more borrowing, it is effectively originating taxation every bit as much as if it forthrightly branded as “taxation” the bills thus initiated.

Two final points. First, I have no illusions that, at this late hour, the Senate would passively accept the premise that the House holds the full power of the purse, or that somewhere down the road the courts would enforce this principle. But each component of our government has the power and, I’d submit, the duty to construe its own constitutional authority in good faith. I am saying that if Republicans truly want to make good on a pledge to reinvigorate originalism, the House should be guided by Madison in its dealings with the Senate. That would make for some contentious times (similar to what we are witnessing now), but so what? Our system is based on the expectation that officials will vigorously exercise their quite intentionally separate and competing powers. The resolution of the inevitable collisions should be more a political process guided by constitutional principles than a legal process determined by courts. The former is how compromise and consensus properly emerge.
Second, there is some very interesting Origination Clause litigation ongoing against Obamacare, and it involves a construction of the clause that both Matt and I would probably find legitimate. Representative Trent Franks (R., Ariz.) and other House conservatives claim that the so-called Affordable Care Act violates the clause because it was a tax-hiking bill (as the Supreme Court has held) that originated in the Senate.
There will be much more to say about this legal challenge. I believe it will be less abstract and less contentious than our debate over the theoretical extent to which the Origination Clause reposes in the House the power of the purse.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute. He is the author, most recently, of Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy.

… this [link] is to the heritage foundation guide to the constitution . It regards the debate regarding the origination clause …

… this [link] is to the Annenberg Classroom resources on the Constitutional debates …

… LEC here again — It remains to be seen how this shutdown will play out . However , I think the GOP has a fighting shot at winning this . Dingy Harry Reid ‘ s penchant for shooting his mouth off  , and sticking his foot in it in one thing . The other thing is POTUS . He is behaving like a petulant child , and Dingy Harry is no better …

Posted in legal opinion, personal opinion, political opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

… A Special Counsel for the IRS Scandal — Yes or No …

Posted by paulfromwloh on Saturday,June 8th,2013

.. I wanted to include these columns from theses esteemed writers . I follow them both , and hold them in very high regard . Both have served our country , more than once , and just might do so again . On this subject , I wanted to give you both sides of the debate .

.. I am undecided . I expect that there will eventually be a special counsel appointed in terms of the I.R.S. affair . When that will happen , to be honest , I do not know . But , it will happen . It also has to be balanced against the accountability that is needed to our country for the actions of the ObamaCraps in the gross misconduct of the I.R.S. . How high up it goes , and how far , I am not sure …

… from the National Review …

… No …

.. No Special Counsel for the IRS Scandal

It would address the symptoms, not the underlying cancer.

Andrew C. McCarthy

It is the Washington way. Egregious misconduct surfaces, showcasing the militantly officious nature of bloated big-government bureaucracy. But the Beltway and the commentariat cry in unison for a special counsel, ensuring that the symptoms — a few corrupt bureaucrats — will get all the attention while the underlying cancer metastasizes.

In the unfolding IRS scandal, we already know President Obama’s conservative political opponents were targeted for the revenue agency’s version of waterboarding. On cue, prominent Republicans and conservatives are starting to call for a special counsel — clearly under the misimpression that a “special counsel” would mean a prosecutor “independent” of the Obama Justice Department. Here at NRO, my friend Larry Kudlow lends his voice to those advising the GOP that a special counsel is the way to go. With due respect, I think it would be a blunder.

The special counsel is a legal anomaly. More important, pushing for one sends entirely the wrong signals. It indicates that criminal culpability takes precedence over political accountability. Worse, it suggests that the evil here is the malfeasance of a few government officials. To the contrary, the problem is a perversely complex regulatory framework that gives the IRS — which should simply collect taxes based on an easily knowable formula — enormous discretionary power to discriminate and intimidate. That makes the IRS an un-American weapon, particularly when it is controlled by an Alinskyite will-to-power administration. Sure, we can worry about prosecuting the weapon-wielders at some point. The urgent problem here, though, is the weapon itself. Our energy should be devoted to exposing the scandal in the light of day and shaming Washington into dismantling the IRS — which is actually planned to swell markedly, and grow even more intrusively offensive, under Obamacare.

Let’s start with the law. Special-counsel proponents seem to think “special” means “independent.” Larry, for example, contends that “an independent special counsel can investigate any possible White House connections with senior Treasury officials, connections that could lead to the Oval Office” (emphasis in original) — adding in conclusion that “only an independent special counsel could possibly straighten this mess out.” Under our law, however, special counsels are not independent of the administration in power.

A quarter-century ago, Justice Antonin Scalia presciently argued against the independent counsel in his famous Morrison v. Olson dissent. In our constitutional system, all executive power is reposed in the president. The conduct of criminal investigations is, unquestionably, a purely executive power. Consequently, there cannot be any legitimate federal exercise of prosecutorial authority independent of the executive branch.

“Special” counsels may be special in the sense that they are singularly dedicated to a particular investigation. They may even be exempted from the Justice Department’s ordinary prosecutorial structure (in which each case is investigated by the U.S. attorney’s office in the district with jurisdiction over the offenses alleged to have taken place). But special counsels are not independent of the executive branch. They still answer to the attorney general and, ultimately, the president.

Any other arrangement violates the Constitution’s separation-of-powers principle. It deprives the president of control over the exercise of executive power. It creates a politically unaccountable fourth branch of government, whose myopic mission is to pursue one target (or set of targets), burdened by none of the constraints — political, budgetary, substantive, or procedural — that ameliorate the Justice Department’s aggressiveness.

Our historical experience with independent counsels has demonstrated them to be just the monstrosity Justice Scalia foresaw. Although the Morrison Court upheld the independent-counsel provisions enacted by the post-Watergate Congress (in the 1978 Ethics in Government Act), Congress prudently allowed statutory authority for independent counsels to lapse in 1999. By then, both parties’ oxen had been gored aplenty, from Iran-Contra through Monica Lewinsky.

We have had “special” counsels since that time, but no independent ones in the sense of formal autonomy from the Justice Department and the president. And the more independent the charters of special counsels have been, the more strident have been the complaints about their zeal. In the most recent example, Patrick Fitzgerald (full disclosure: a longtime friend of mine) was given an especially wide berth by the Bush Justice Department to investigate an allegedly felonious leak of classified information. As it turned out, the leak was not unlawful, yet Fitzgerald ended up first jailing journalist Judy Miller for contempt (Miller refused, for a time, to identify her sources to his grand jury), then prosecuting Scooter Libby not for the leak but for “process crimes” (i.e., offenses — perjury and lying to agents — alleged to have been committed during the investigative process). Those legitimately worried about leaks were left unsatisfied while Libby admirers remain convinced that he was railroaded.

Let’s put law and atmospherics aside and try to be completely practical. The imperative in the IRS scandal is not criminal prosecution. It is political accountability: to lay bare what corrupt officials have done, for the purpose of swiftly determining whether they are unfit to hold offices of public trust and whether the system in which they operate tends to corruption. The appointment of a special counsel would undermine that goal.

The moment a prosecutor — special or otherwise — takes over, the public flow of information stops. All witnesses will claim that the pendency of a criminal investigation means they cannot discuss the matter “on advice of counsel.” They will cease cooperating with congressional investigators. The prosecutor will claim that grand-jury secrecy rules bar comment about the expansive investigation (a claim the government routinely makes, even though the rules actually bar comment only by the prosecutor, investigative agents, and grand jurors — not the witnesses).

A special counsel chosen by Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama would be no different. It would not get us to accountability; it would be a severe impediment to accountability. And it would be a lifeline for the IRS.

… Yes …   No less than a special counsel

.. Larry Kudlow .. from moneynews.com ..

When you get right down to it, the political targeting and stalling of tax-exempt applications by the IRS was an effort to defund the tea party. Rick Santelli, one of the tea party founders and my CNBC colleague, was the first to make this point. I’ve taken it a step further: The IRS was taking the tea party out of play for the 2012 election, as it looked to avoid a repeat of 2010 and another tea party landslide.

There are a lot of numbers out there. Some say tea party applications for tax-exempt status averaged 27 months for approval, while applications from liberal groups averaged nine. In one extreme case, according to The Daily Caller, the IRS granted the Barack H. Obama Foundation tax-exempt status in a speedy one-month timeframe. Yet some conservative groups waited up to three years, and some still haven’t received approval.

But there can be only one reason for the stalled-out approval process for conservative groups. The IRS was trying to put them out of business. Thus far, there’s not one wit of contradictory evidence.

Think of this: If the IRS wasn’t politically targeting conservative groups, why did its leading spokespeople lie? This was not even cognitive dissonance. It was outright lying before Congress. Lois Lerner, a key player in the IRS’s tax-exempt division, is being accused by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee of no fewer than four lies. The inspector general’s report shows that she knew about the targeting problem in June 2011, but wouldn’t admit to it in correspondence with Congress over the next two years.

Then there’s former IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman, a Bush appointee. He apparently knew about the targeting in May 2012, but told Congress in August 2012 that he didn’t.

Or there’s former IRS acting director Steve Miller, who was just pushed out. He also knew about the targeting in May 2012, but later refused to admit it to Congress during testimony.

In fact, the whole bloody agency may have known about it on August 4, 2011. According to the Treasury Department IG report, various IRS big wigs met that day to talk about the conservative-targeting problem. That meeting may have included the IRS’s chief counsel; while the IG report says he was at the meeting, the IRS has denied that he was. But if one of his minions was at the meeting, the chief counsel would have known about the problem.

And it turns out, the Treasury’s inspector general, J. Russell George, told senior Treasury officials in June 2012 that he was auditing the IRS’s political-organization screening. That means White House appointees in the Treasury, including Deputy Secretary Neal Wolin, were aware of the IRS scandal before the presidential election. According to The New York Times, IG George “did not tell the officials of his conclusions that the targeting had been improper.”

No one knows the exact facts, which presumably will come out in the hearings. But this is important stuff. It is conspiracy stuff. Criminal stuff.

We already know that IRS employees gave heavily to Obama in 2008 and 2012, and very little to candidates McCain and Romney. But who was the quarterback in all this? Who was managing the targeting operation in the bowels of the IRS?

It could have been Sarah Hall Ingram. She served as commissioner of the IRS’s tax-exempt division between 2009 and 2012. And she got a $100,000 bonus for her efforts. And now — incredibly — she’s running the IRS’s Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) office, leaving her successor Joseph Grant to take the fall. But he just turned tail and resigned.

And now get this: President Obama has named OMB Controller Daniel Werfel the new acting director of the IRS. And he’s only going to serve between May 22 and the end of the fiscal year, which is September 30. Are you kidding?

In four months, we’re to believe Mr. Werfel is going to piece together the lies, finger the quarterback, and replace everybody who was involved, not just in the now-infamous Cincinnati office, but in offices in Washington, D.C., two towns in California, and even Austin, Texas. (That’s the latest count.) And this guy Werfel is also supposed to manage the agency which is adding Obamacare to its income-tax-collection responsibilities. In four months. Nuts.

An independent special counsel with subpoena power is the only possible solution. This counsel must find out exactly what happened and who was involved, and then come up with a fix so it never happens again. Of course, Obama charged Treasury Secretary Jack Lew with straightening this out. But Lew is an Obama political operative.

By the way, a special counsel will have to do a special investigation, since we’re already learning the inspector-general investigation was a very superficial operation. And an independent special counsel can investigate any possible White House connections with senior Treasury officials, connections that could lead to the Oval Office.

We may hate the IRS because of its taxing power. We may hate it more because of its new Obamacare power. But it is a massively important government agency. And now we know that it is fraught with corruption and a liberal-left political agenda.

Only an independent special counsel could possibly straighten this mess out.

 

Posted in personal opinion, political opinion | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »