Matt Vespa - Uh oh: IRS To Review GOP Inquiry Into Clinton Foundation
Posted: 7/28/2016 1:40:00 PM EST

Guy wrote that some have called it a slush fund; others have noted that it’s a bank where favors are deposited with the Clinton family. Either way, Hillary Clinton may soon have to face questions about the dealings of her family non-profit, which has already found itself in ethical hot water over the timing of some donations and corresponding actions favorable to the donors. For example, Hillary Clinton (and Barack Obama) was against the Columbia Free Trade Agreement, mostly due to human and labor rights concerns. One energy company, Pacific Rubiales, was at the center of the labor controversy. Its founder Frank Giustra gave millions to the Clinton Foundation, as did Rubiales, and Clinton did a 180-degree turn in her position on the matter. Giustra is now on the Clinton Foundation’s board of directors. 

Also, there were arms deals that soared into the billions that went to governments that donated millions to the Foundation. Well, now, the Internal Revenue Service has confirmed that they’re referring GOP inquires into those matters to their exempt organizations division for review to see if any felonious activity occurred, the same division that landed the embroiled the agency in scandal after it was alleged that they were targeting conservative non-profits. The Daily Caller was the first to report on this matter (via Fox News):

The IRS confirmed in a letter it is looking into claims of “pay-to-play” practices at the Clinton Foundation, after dozens of Republican lawmakers requested a review of potential “criminal conduct” at the organization founded by the family at the center of this week’s Democratic National Convention.

Commissioner John Koskinen wrote in a July 22 letter to Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn that the issue has been “forwarded” to the IRS “Exempt Organizations Examinations” program in Dallas.


Asked for comment on the referral, the agency said in a statement: “The IRS receives referrals from a variety of sources. We forward all referrals to the appropriate area for consideration of whether there are issues that justify further review. We have standard processes and procedures we follow when we receive information or referrals from outside groups. Due to federal privacy protections, the IRS cannot comment on individual taxpayers or organizations.”

The request for an examination came in a July 15 letter from 64 House Republicans including Tennessee Rep. Blackburn. In the run-up to the Democratic convention where Hillary Clinton was nominated for president Tuesday, they asked the FBI, IRS and Federal Trade Commission to examine the dealings of the foundation.

"From the information we have been able to gather, it appears the Clinton Foundation is a 'pay to play' sham charity that needs to be investigated," Blackburn said in a statement on Tuesday. "The Clintons have used their Foundation to personally enrich themselves at the expense of American foreign policy. At a minimum, the Foundation’s tax-exempt status needs to be reviewed and revoked immediately."

Just like the FBI, don’t expect much from the IRS referral. There may be a lot of damaging information and odd coincidences between the donor, the donation, and the favorable event that benefited an interest connected with the individual, but this is from an agency that’s also been dragging its feet on releasing documents relating to whether they did target conservative organizations. That’s still a thorn in its side, and I doubt the agency will be enthusiastic about possibly torpedoing Clinton with a finding that play-to-play does occur at the Clinton Foundation. It’s a wonderful mirage. At the same time, we can say that Clinton is still under FBI investigation since their probe into the charity hasn't concluded. 

Cortney O'Brien - ICYMI: Clinton Campaign Manager Laughs When Asked When Hillary's Next Presser Is
Posted: 7/28/2016 1:30:00 PM EST

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has not held a press conference in a shamefully long time. Guy alerted us to the half-a-year mark in June. It’s now up to 260 days.

Ask her campaign manager Robby Mook about it and you’ll be greeted with giggles.

When Washington Post editorial board editor Ruth Marcus asked if the press conference blackout would continue into a Clinton administration, Mook again laughed it off.

“I will not speculate about anything after the election because I’ll be on vacation,” he said.

“I’m saying that I can’t even tell you what we’re doing 10 days from now, we make these decisions on a rolling basis,” he said.

GOP nominee Donald Trump mocked Clinton for her fear of the media during his own presser this week. “I think it’s time” to hold one, he challenged his opponent.

The last time Clinton tried to hold a press conference, it was a disaster. In addition to the awful optics of her outfit, which many pundits compared to an orange jumpsuit, Clinton did herself no favors by dismissing questions about her email server and joking whether the press meant she had “wiped it with a cloth?”

The potential for gaffes can help explain why Clinton prefers pre-taped, sit down interviews. As November nears, however, voters will demand she be more transparent.

Justin Holcomb  - Obama Talks About Himself Nearly 120 Times During Speech about Hillary
Posted: 7/28/2016 12:30:00 PM EST

There is no doubt that Barack Obama loves himself some Barack Obama.  

In a speech that was supposed to be about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Obama made sure that Americans did not forget what all he has done these last eight years.  He reminded us of his passing of Obamacare, expanding clean energy regulations, efforts to pass gun control, and passing the Iran deal.  

We learned about Obama's strange, yet unexplained connection to grandparents in Kansas.  We heard all about how good of a father he is and his relentless work ethic.  

He also asked the American people to carry Clinton as they carried him.  And finally, he made it clear that he would be "passing the baton" of the Oval Office to Hillary only because of his sheer grace.

Matt Vespa - Democratic Delegate: Stop Shouting USA, 'That's A Trump Chant'
Posted: 7/28/2016 12:00:00 PM EST

Oh, the things that are overheard by members of the media. Here’s a rather unsettling one from Fox News’ Shannon Bream picked up on the convention floor, where a Democratic delegate was irked that the arena was shouting “USA” to drown out the anti-war hecklers chanting “no more wars” and “lies” during former CIA Director Leon Panetta’s address. Apparently, Democrats shouldn’t do that because it’s a “Trump chant.”

So, being proud of your country, showing some patriotic fervor, and trying to push back against the fools being rude to Panetta is…bad because it’s somehow connected to Trump. That’s insane. The “USA” chants have long pre-dated this cycle and the 2008 cycle. It was heard at sporting events after the 9/11 attacks, where the country was more unified than ever—and lockstep behind then-President George W. Bush. I miss those days.

The truth of the matter is that shouting “USA” isn’t a Trump activity; it’s an American one. This isn’t something to get all crazy about. Additionally, it was somewhat appropriate, given that Panetta was interrupted as he discussed his parents’ immigration to the United States from Italy, where they started a restaurant and carved our their slice of the American dream, so yeah—“USA!” “USA!”

Christine Rousselle - 'Pearls Before Swine' Cartoon Mocking NSA Wiretapping Censored
Posted: 7/28/2016 11:45:00 AM EST

The comic strip "Pearls Before Swine" is no stranger to controversy and is well-known for pushing the envelope. Apparently, yesterday's scheduled strip went a bit too far, and was not published in newspapers. Pearls Before Swine's cartoonist Stephan Pastis tweeted it out anyways, saying that he thought the strip was "harmless" and that the censorship was unnecessary.

Check it out:

Personally, I don't see the issue. Part of the appeal of Pearls Before Swine is that it's an edgier comic that takes more risk with its humor--it's not the saccharine Family Circus. It's also a strip known for its (often awesomely-bad) puns. This is nothing from the norm, and I don't understand why this couldn't be printed.

If this is the world we're living in now, I don't like it.

Cortney O'Brien - D’Souza Film Likening Hillary to a Criminal Becomes Most Successful Documentary of the Year
Posted: 7/28/2016 11:00:00 AM EST

It turns out all you need for a successful documentary is a conservative message and Dinesh D’Souza. In the summer before the 2012 election, D’Souza released 2016: Obama’s America. While voters didn't heed the movie's warning judging by the election results, the film still enjoyed some serious box office success, earning $33.4 million. D'Souza has struck gold again with Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party, which just became the top-grossing documentary of 2016, according to The Hollywood Reporter. In 12 days, it has already generated $5.2 million.

Timing is everything. D’Souza decided to release the film as the Republican and Democratic National Conventions were getting underway.

On the eve of the GOP gathering in Cleveland, Hillary's America took in $77,500 from five theaters in Texas for a stellar location average of $25,833. And last weekend — as the media's attention turned to the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, which kicked off Monday — the film expanded nationwide into a total of 1,217 theaters, grossing $4 million and coming in No. 10.

“The big criminals are still at large,” D’Souza says in the trailer, as he watches a Hillary Clinton press conference on TV from jail. “The system doesn’t go after them because they run the system.”

In addition to portraying Clinton as a criminal, Hillary’s America also uncovers the Democratic Party’s racist history that the film says stretched into the 20th century. D’Souza is also seen interviewing conservative pundits who define progressivism as social control with a dangerous reliance on Big Government.

“What if their plan is to steal America?” D’Souza asks.

Looking at the recent box office numbers, Americans are enamored with D’Souza’s message. This time, will those numbers be reflected in the election?

RELATED: D'Souza Explains 7 Things the Left Doesn’t Want You to Know About Their History

Guy Benson - Money Talks: DNC Hack Exposes Federal Appointments for Major Dem Donors
Posted: 7/28/2016 10:35:00 AM EST

PHILADELPHIA -- By now, you've probably heard that the Russian-linked DNC hack has exposed how party officials intentionally tilted the playing field against Bernie Sanders throughout the "Democratic" primary process. You've heard about how they peddled anti-Bernie stories to the press while voting was still going on. You've heard about how they mulled exploiting his religion, or lack thereof, to undermine his image among certain demographics. And you've heard about how they've discussed minorities as commodities and "customers" to be electorally-acquired through 'propaganda.' (Perhaps all of this could have been kept under wraps if the party had taken cyber security warnings more seriously, as opposed to privately mocking them in highly ironic emails). But here's another element of the email leaks that has received less attention thus far, via the transparency group Open Secrets:

Email exchanges involving top officials at the Democratic National Committee released along with private documents by WikiLeaks show that DNC officials hoped to reward top donors and insiders with appointments to federal boards and commissions in coordination with the White House. The revelations give an inside look into how the Democratic Party attempted to leverage its access and influence with the White House to bring in cash. In an April 20, 2016 email, DNC National Finance Director Jordan Kaplan canvassed what appears to be the committee’s finance department – its fundraising office – for names of people (mainly donors) to reward with federal appointments on boards and commissions...The White House strongly denied any link between financial support for the party and appointments.

That denial is not credible. At all. Obamaworld has been selling access to the White House and to Obama himself for years -- both in connection with presidential library fundraising efforts, as well as through Obama for America "Organizing for Action," or whatever they ended up renaming it.  It has not been subtle. And while it's in no way unprecedented for an administration to reward deep-pocketed donors with plum positions like ambassadorships (remember this?), Ed Morrissey notes one significant break from protocol revealed in these messages: "In truth these boards and commissions are routinely used to reward supporters. Usually, however, that isn’t handled by fundraising staff so as to avoid making it into an explicit quid pro quo."  The other issue at play here is hypocrisy.  Attendees of this convention have spent the week applauding one anti-Citizens United, Koch brothers-bashing, money-in-politics-lamenting speech after another.  We must reduce the corrosive influence of money on our politics, these liberals bray, even as their party rents out the White House and hands out prestigious presidential appointments to their own ultra-rich financiers.  As has always been the case, forever proven by Barack Obama, the Left is really against other people's money in politics.  When piles of sweet, sweet cash help their own heroes and causes, it's fine. Because that's different.  And that's how a mega-wealthy Clinton Foundation donor magically found himself on a sensitive national security panel despite his lack of qualifications; he was forced to resign when this came to light.  Speaking of the Clinton Foundation and credible accusations of sleazy pay-for-play impropriety, it looks like it's time for yet another federal investigation:

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen referred congressional charges of corrupt Clinton Foundation “pay-to-play” activities to his tax agency’s exempt operations office for investigation, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned. The request to investigate the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation on charges of “public corruption” was made in a July 15 letter by 64 House Republicans to the IRS, FBI and Federal Trade Commission (FTC). They charged the foundation is “lawless” ... The lawmakers charged the Clinton Foundation is a “lawless ‘pay-to-play’ enterprise that has been operating under a cloak of philanthropy for years and should be investigated.” Koskinen’s July 22 reply came only a week after the House Republicans contacted the tax agency. It arrived to their offices Monday, the first opening day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. The Exempt Organization Program is the division of the IRS that regulates the operations of public foundations and charities. House Republicans singled out Laureate Education and Uranium One as two companies that seemed to have paid lavish sums to the Clintons and later received official government benefits.

Ah yes, the IRS' Exempt Organization program. I'm sure they'll get right on this, in a characteristically evenhanded and above-board manner. Incidentally, we've written about both Laureate Education and Uranium One in this space previously. As we mentioned yesterday, James Comey recently declined to comment on whether the Clinton Foundation's practices were the subject of an FBI investigation, as Fox News' Catherine Herridge has reported.  I'll leave you with this investigative piece from NBC's Ronan Farrow on lavish spending, high rollers, and access-peddling at both parties' national conventions:

Katie Pavlich - Here is The DNC Schedule For Thursday
Posted: 7/28/2016 10:30:00 AM EST

The following 2016 Democrat Convention speaker agenda has been provided by the Democratic National Committee and is subject to change. The convention, being held in Philadelphia, started Monday and concludes Thursday. Below is the agenda for Thursday, July 28, 2016. 

Program hours: 4:30 PM Eastern Start Time

Location: Wells Fargo Arena

Beth Mathias

Beth works two jobs and her husband works the nightshift at a factory in Ohio. Hillary met Beth at a roundtable in Marion.

Jensen Walcott & Jake Reed

Jensen was fired from her job at a pizza restaurant in Bonner Springs, KS for asking her boss why she was paid 25 cents less than her male co-worker and friend, Jake. After Jensen and Jake’s story came to light, Hillary tweeted “Good for you, Jensen. Every woman deserves equal pay, no matter what her age. Keep up the hard work—and courage!”

Khizr Khan

Khizr Khan’s son, Humayun S. M. Khan was a University of Virginia graduate and enlisted in the U.S. Army. Khan was one of 14 American Muslims who died serving the United States in the ten years after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Clinton spoke extensively about Kahn during a speech in Minneapolis.

Chelsea Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Matt Vespa - Well…At Least Obama Mentioned ISIS In His Speech
Posted: 7/28/2016 9:38:00 AM EST

As Cortney noted on Monday, out of 61 speeches delivered that night—none mentioned ISIS. Now, after last night, which featured Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), and President Barack Obama as speakers, you would hope that the president would mention the threat we face from this Islamic terrorist group. Oh yes—the Republican National Committee was watching as well.

During the president’s speech that was prefaced by a video in which history did not begin until 2008 (or so it seemed), Obama praised Clinton (of course), tore into Trump, and said that America was already great. He also said that the Republican National Convention was fraught with pessimism (via ABC News):

"A lot’s happened over the years. And while this nation has been tested by war and recession and all manner of challenge -– I stand before you again tonight, after almost two terms as your President, to tell you I am even more optimistic about the future of America," he said.

"I can say with confidence there has never been a man or a woman more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as President of the United States of America," he declared.


"This is a more fundamental choice -– about who we are as a people, and whether we stay true to this great American experiment in self-government," he said. "We Democrats have always had plenty of differences with the Republican Party, and there’s nothing wrong with that; it’s precisely this contest of ideas that pushes our country forward."

In a remarkable series of broadsides leveled at Clinton's opponent, Obama rebuked Trump and the dire picture painted of the country by the GOP presidential nominee.

"America is already great. America is already strong. And I promise you, our strength, our greatness, does not depend on Donald Trump," he said, questioning Trump's qualifications.

"He’s not really a plans guy. Not really a facts guy, either," he said of Trump. "He calls himself a business guy, which is true, but I have to say, I know plenty of businessmen and women who’ve achieved success without leaving a trail of lawsuits, and unpaid workers, and people feeling like they got cheated."

He did mention ISIS, though–twice. But, as Sean Spicer, communications director for the RNC noted, there was no mention of Iraq, where we’re deploying more troops; no mention of Israel; no mention of Libya (Benghazi); no mention of his push to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) into law; and no mention that the national debt has surpassed $19 trillion.

TPP isn’t the most popular swan song for the president to include on his playlist right now, though he seems to want to make signing it into law his last major act as president. The national debt has grown under Obama, which isn’t good—and it’s not like debt matters to Democrats anyway. You mention Benghazi, and then the media starts the whole inquiries into Clinton about her role—where she recently told CBS News’ Scott Pelley that security wasn’t her “ball to carry.” This also leads back into her email fiasco, which every Democrat so desperately wants to move on from, but can’t because we’re now debating whether the Democratic National Committee tried to rig the election for Clinton when she faced Sen. Bernie Sanders in the primaries. It sure injected a dose of animus into the Bernie camp present in Philadelphia. They’re playing it safe, though it still doesn’t shield the president from awkward moments, like when he said that Clinton would say anything to get elected—and a person who would change nothing in Washington.

Nevertheless, I guess the Democrats get a cookie (or gold star) for at least acknowledging that there is a vicious radical Islamic terrorist group called ISIS, they’re operating in Iraq, and they really want to kill us.

Oh, as for Tim Kaine—Hillary's running mate––he spoke, gave awkward Donald Trump impressions, and didn’t mention a single accomplishment from his days as Virginia’s governor. 

Cortney O'Brien - Is Tim Kaine Really Pro-life?
Posted: 7/28/2016 9:30:00 AM EST

Hillary Clinton's new running mate Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) has claimed to be pro-life. As a "traditional Catholic," it's a personal matter to him, he's insisted. When he was governor of Virginia, he supported parental consent laws for young women seeking abortions as well as a partial-birth abortion ban. In 2005, before he ran for governor, he supported abstinence education.

Yet, pro-life groups have been quick to point out that once Kaine entered the U.S. Senate, everything changed. Since 2012, he has a voting record that has earned him a 100 percent rating from the pro-abortion group NARAL. 

The Susan B. Anthony List released a statement over the weekend arguing the Clinton-Kaine ticket could not be more "pro-abortion extreme." Kaine, the group points out, refused to support the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act and the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, the latter of which prohibits late-term abortions after five months, while serving in the Senate.

If these stark flip flops didn't convince you that Kaine is all talk and no action when it comes to being "pro-life," consider that Tuesday night he reversed his position on the Hyde Amendment. Hyde is common sense legislation that prevents taxpayers from funding abortions. While the Virginia senator had before opposed it, this week he decided he's fine with it.

“You cannot be ‘personally’ opposed to the destruction of innocent human life and take no action to stop it," SBA List Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement Wednesday. "Voters should not be fooled by Tim Kaine. There is no daylight between him and Hillary Clinton on this issue. They are absolute extremists pushing the Democratic Party further and further left on abortion, alienating the one-third of Democrats who call themselves pro-life."

When he accepted his party's vice presidential nomination on Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention, he assured voters that Clinton would fight to defend Roe v. Wade. In other words, he's forgotten about the fight he first pledged to wage.

Kaine can claim he's pro-life, but his record proves otherwise.