Monday, August 3, 2015

Gov. McAuliffe's Appointees Try an End Run to Let Illegals and Felons Vote

The battle for voter integrity continues in Virginia. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe's appointees are trying bypassing the state legislature to make changes to allow convicted felons and illegal aliens to  fraudulent vote without any consequences. Under the proposed changes to the Virginia Code, voters would no longer need to affirmatively check a box stating that they are a citizen, and they are neither a felon, nor mentally incompetent. Currently, if a voter leaves this box incomplete, the action is a material omission. Thus, if a person does not at least affirmatively state they are a citizen, the vote does not count.

However, due to efforts by McAuliffe’s appointees the State Board of Elections was poised to take up a motion on July 28th to change these procedures so that election directors across Virginia would be instructed to ignore blank boxes. On June 22, 2015, the State Board of Elections issued an extension to the comment period on the proposed Voter Registration Application Regulation and Form, and extended the public comment period again to August 3rd, 2015.

Delegate James M. LeMunyon responded:

Every first-grader in Virginia gets a work sheet from a teacher with boxes to check. If we’ve had this sort of rampant people-haven’t-been-able-to-check-boxes problem, I haven’t heard of that one.

Hans A. von Spakovsky and Rachel landsman of the Heritage Foundation highlight in  National Review that the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 added the citizenship question to the federal voter-registration form because of the evidence that non-citizens are registering to vote. Proposed changes would allow non-citizens and felons to continue to illegally register, but eliminate the risk of getting caught.

Each illegal vote negates the vote of a citizen voting legally. Senator Thomas A. Garrett Jr. pleads with Virignia voters stating

If we let Terry McAuliffe have his way, illegal aliens will be able to vote just like you and me — unless you make time to help.

As Del. Rob Bell, a leader in the voter ID fight states (emphasis mine):

This would of course make it easier to commit voter fraud, and would substantially undermine the bills that I worked on with Senator Obenshain in 2013 to address voting by felons, residents of other states, and photo ID. 
In 2008, Senator Tom Garrett prosecuted voter fraud prompted by a progressive group that sent out forms to felons encouraging them to register.  As Garrett noted to the Board, their new proposal would make it “virtually impossible” to prosecute such offenders. 

Through midnight, Virginians can use the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall website here to urge the Virginia State Board of Elections to continue to require affirmation of citizenship and non-felon status as material portions of the voter registration form.

Friday, July 31, 2015

RNLA Congratulates Jennifer Choe Groves for Her Nomination to the U.S. Court of International Trade

The Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA) is pleased to congratulate Jennifer Choe Groves on her nomination by President Obama to serve on the United States Court of International Trade. The U.S. Court of International Trade, an Article III court, has nationwide jurisdiction over civil actions arising out of U.S. customs and international trade laws. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Groves will be the first Asian Pacific American judge to serve on this court.

Groves has been a longtime supporter of the RNLA having previously served as a Secretary of our Board of Governors.

RNLA Executive Director Michael Thielen stated:

The RNLA was privileged to count Jennifer Choe Groves among our ranks and as part of our leadership team in the past. She will make a great addition to the U.S. Court of International Trade.

Groves is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Titanium Law Group PLLC and Choe Groves Consulting LLC, where she provides legal and consulting services in the areas of international trade and intellectual property. Previously, she was a partner at the law firms of Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC and Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP.

Groves also served as the Senior Director of Intellectual Property and Innovation in the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in the Executive Office of the President. During her time at USTR, she also served as chair of the Special 301 Committee, where she led the interagency committee’s decision-making on international trade policy and intellectual property protection. Prior to joining USTR, Groves was Counsel at O’Melveny & Myers LLP and an associate at Fish & Neave LLP (now Ropes & Gray LLP). She began her legal career as an Assistant District Attorney in New York County District Attorney’s Office from and received her LL.M from Columbia Law School, her J.D. from Rutgers School of Law – Newark, and her A.B. from Princeton University. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Planned Parenthood: "Specimens" for Profit and Power Over Women's Health?

Bills are now introduced in the House and the Senate to cut off federal funds for Planned Parenthood, and would instead direct money to women’s health groups. This is a proposed fix to the legal issue of Planned Parenthood misusing federal funds to profit from harvested fetal tissue in the name of research.

A third video released on Tuesday continues to reveal a Planned Parenthood official negotiating with someone believed to be a buyer of fetal tissue. The video also includes an interview with a phlepotomist who worked for a company procuring fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood. Phlebotomist Holly O’Donnell stated,

For whatever we could procure, (Planned Parenthood) would get a certain percentage. The main nurse was always trying to make sure we got our specimens. No one else really cared, but the main nurse did because she knew that Planned Parenthood was getting compensated.

Although Planned Parenthood claims, "We do not make a profit on fetal tissue," the legality of Planned Parenthood’s funding hinges on this fact. As RNLA previously reported here, laws restrict fetal tissue research so that no one should benefit financially. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell remarked on the Senate floor today:

We introduced legislation last night that would ensure taxpayer dollars for women’s health are spent on women’s health, not a scandal-plagued political lobbying giant.

The Senate expects to vote on the bill before August recess.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

“Mr. Koskinen should no longer be the IRS commissioner”

Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Affairs, sent a letter to Obama requesting the firing of IRS chief John Koskinen. Chaffetz stated that Koskinen repeatedly “obstructed” congressional efforts to investigate the IRS’s political targeting taxpayers. Chaffetz quoted his letter in a Capitol Hill press conference,

At best, Commissioner Koskinen was derelict in his duties to preserve agency records. At worst, he and the IRS engaged in an orchestrated plan to hide information from Congress.

Back in 2013, Obama promised to “work hand-in-hand with Congress to fix the problem” when the public learned about the IRS targeting. In the 2013 House investigation, Lois Lerner, ex-IRS official, revealed that the IRS targeted Tea Party groups and other conservatives from April 2010 to April 2012 for higher scrutiny and auditing. However, in March 2014 Lerner asserted her Fifth Amendment rights, repeatedly refused to testify at trials, and was subsequently held in contempt.

When Lerner resigned as director of the Exempt Organizations unit In September 2013, Koshen was installed and confirmed. Unfortunately, Koshkinen has failed to restore any faith in the agency.

Chaffetz also emphasized that Koskinen failed to testify truthfully, comply with subpoenas and preserve up to 24,000 emails related to the investigation. If Obama does not remove Koskinen, Chaffetz vows to

pursue all constitutional remedies at our disposal, including potential contempt proceedings or perhaps impeachment.

Ultimately, Chaffetz calls the concealed facts surrounding the IRS targeting “an unacceptable outcome and one that demands those responsible be held accountable.” See the House Oversight Committee’s video “There Must Be Accountability” here.

Monday, July 27, 2015

IRS Targets Conservatives with No Consequence

New documents confirmed that the IRS targeted individual donors giving to those causes who aligned with lists of conservative tax-exempt organizations. Not only did the IRS use the donor lists of tax-exempt organizations for audits, but also the documents highlight that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce may have come under “high scrutiny.” The IRS would not produce the documents until required by a Freedom of Information lawsuit, Judicial Watch v. Internal Revenue Service (No. 1:15-cv-00220).

July 22nd, Judicial Watch announced,

The documents show that the IRS had not enforced the gift tax since 1982. But then, in February 2011, at least five donors of an unnamed organization were audited.

The press release further explained,

Crossroads GPS, associated with Republican Karl Rove, was specifically referenced by IRS officials in the context of applying the gift tax. Seemingly in response to the Crossroads focus, on April 20, IRS attorney Lorraine Gardner emails a 501(c)(4) donor list to former Branch Chief in the IRS’ Office of the Chief Counsel James Hogan. Later, this information is apparently shared with IRS Estate Gift and Policy Manager Lisa Piehl while Gardner seeks “information about any of the donors.”

And House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz stated,

You have political targeting that is factual at this point. There are no ifs, ands or buts. You had groups within the IRS who were politically targeting conservatives and impeding their First Amendment rights.

In 2013, IRS official Lois Lerner pled the Fifth before the House Oversight Committee regarding the IRS targeting scandal. Although Lerner met with the Department of Justice to determine how to prosecute conservative groups, she met no consequences for turning this agency into a political weapon. No one was fired as a result of the targeting and former Oversight Committee Chairman Darrel Issa says the IRS is still engaging in the same bad behavior.