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The “Why” Behind the IRS Scandal PDF Print E-mail
Guest Commentaries
Written by Daniel S. Brown Jr.   
Tuesday, 21 May 2013 09:41

Let’s begin with a premise: Challenging, delaying, questioning, or bullying organizations about their not-for-profit, educational purposes chills both free speech and a free press. The current ruckus involving Internal Revenue Service policies aimed at conservative political groups supports that notion to be sure.

What we are learning now is that not-for-profit political organizations connected to the network of Tea Party groups were not the only organizations targeted by IRS administrators. In the past few days, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) sent an open letter to President Barack Obama outlining its contention that it was subjected to discrimination because IRS agents investigated, audited, and threatened it with the loss of its tax-exempt status. To the current administration, the man who has appeared in Gallup’s Top 10 Most Admired Men in the World for 56 years needed to be investigated. So, too, did his son Franklin Graham’s not-for-profit charity, Samaritan’s Purse. The BGEA letter to the president states: “This is morally wrong and unethical – indeed some would call it ‘un-American.’”

 
Two Republicans Looking Seriously at Attorney General PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 19 May 2013 05:21

One of the worst-kept secrets over the past few weeks is that House Republican Leader Tom Cross has been considering a run for Illinois attorney general.

Cross has reportedly been asked by Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka and U.S. Representative Aaron Schock to think about a bid in case Attorney General Lisa Madigan decides to run for governor or simply not run for anything.

A former county prosecutor, Cross has long considered a bid for the office. But as recently as a few weeks ago, Cross’ people were denying that he would do it. Now, however, they are saying it’s a possibility. The calls from top Republicans and some major GOP fundraisers have apparently helped focus his mind. “Any time you have so many people requesting that you consider something, you owe it to them to do some due diligence,” explained one Cross backer last week.

 
American Lemmings and Crony Capitalism PDF Print E-mail
Editorials
Written by Kathleen McCarthy   
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 05:39

It’s become a fascination to observe what I refer to as the American “lemming effect.” So far, government overreach – no matter how egregious, harmful, dangerous, or in some cases lethal – has elicited no discernible impact on the average American’s willingness to act for change.

I wonder if most Americans believe there is some sort of undefined limit or invisible line that government will eventually reach that will magically trigger a halt to all the political and financial corruption that is prevailing in our nation.

In the past decade alone, the abuse of power has reached an all-new high because we the people have been civically and politically idle. Our silence and immobility are our consent, delighting politicians, bureaucrats, and corporate executives beyond measure.

Emboldened by the American people’s collective inertia, legislators, regulators, and the courts are continually creating laws and rules that exempt themselves from the same laws that bind the rest of us, providing ultimate protection from prosecution for their criminal conduct.

 
Polls Show Both Major Parties Have an Uphill Struggle with Voters PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 12 May 2013 05:36

Illinois Republican Party Chair Pat Brady resigned last week just as a new statewide poll showed big trouble for his political party’s brand.

Brady had been under pressure to resign ever since the disastrous 2012 elections. The pressure increased publicly after Brady announced his support for a gay-marriage bill. Multiple attempts to oust Brady were unsuccessful.

The way forward is unclear, to say the least. Some party leaders have a list of more than 25 people to consider. This could easily turn out to be a total mess.

And this all comes at a particularly bad time for the GOP. A new Capitol Fax/We Ask America poll found that 52 percent of likely Illinois voters have a negative view of the Republican Party. Just 25 percent have a positive view, while 24 percent were neutral.

 
Strong Candidate (Wisely) Backs Off Key GOP Job PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 05 May 2013 05:56

In yet another blow to the Illinois Republican Party, state Senator Matt Murphy (R-Palatine) has withdrawn his name from contention for the state-GOP-chair job.

And, no, it didn’t have anything to do with Murphy being injured during the annual House-versus-Senate softball game last week.

Murphy was approached a month or so ago about taking the party job when the current chair, Pat Brady, eventually resigns.

Brady has been under fire all year for publicly supporting a gay-marriage bill, among other things. The Illinois Republican Party’s platform specifically opposes gay marriage, so Brady was accused of being in flagrant conflict with the party’s beliefs. Brady has said that he merely supported gay marriage as a private citizen, but the hard right in the GOP didn’t buy that argument.

Murphy was initially open to the chair idea and seemed to be leaning toward taking it. He wanted assurances, though, that Brady would be allowed to resign on his own timetable.

 
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