If you wonder why Cincinnati became the go-to IRS office for non-profit exemption review, the answer’s really simple:
The IRS was having trouble hiring people for low-level positions in field offices like New York or Atlanta — the kinds of workers that typically reviewed applications by nonprofits, Owens said.
The answer to this was simple: Cincinnati.
The city had a history of being able to hire people at low federal grades, which in 1995 paid between $19,704 and $38,814 a year — almost the same as those federal grades paid in New York City or Chicago.
So in 1995, the Exempt Organizations division started to centralize. Instead of field offices evaluating applications for nonprofits in each region, those applications would all be sent to one mailing address, a post-office box in Covington, Ky. Then a central office in Cincinnati would review all the applications.
Almost inadvertently, because people there were willing to work for less than elsewhere, Cincinnati became ground zero for nonprofit applications.
And then, thanks to a reorganization in the late 1990s – early 2000s, the IRS started reducing its number of employees (from over 100,000 to slightly under 90,000). With fewer people came less attention to what was happening in field offices and reassignment of lawyers to special projects rather than ongoing practices like the Exempt Organizations reviews.
So far, then, it seems that the IRS snafu is more a management and resource problem than it is a partisan political one. Does that fact matter to Republicans? Hardly.
Those emails about Benghazi didn’t show the White House massaging the talking points at all, we now learn. Instead, we learn that some attendee at a meeting two months ago during which the mails were shown to Republicans misrepresented their content to ABC’s Jonathan Karl, who promptly published what he was told. Hooray for stenography!
On February 15, the general counsel for the national intelligence director’s office briefed the Senate Intelligence Committee, leadership, and staff on the emails, according to the Associated Press. On March 19, there was a similar briefing in the House. Karl reports that included the members of the House Intelligence Committee, their staff, and a senior aide to Speaker John Boehner. (Boehner was invited, but sent an aide instead.) That’s a lot of people, though a lot less than all Republicans on Capitol Hill. It’s 12 senators, plus the staffers who attended the meetings, and 12 representatives, plus Boehner’s aide.
And we can probably narrow the source even further, to just the House. A report by five House Republican committeemen made claims that seem based on the inaccurate summaries of the emails. As The Daily Beast’s Eli Lake reported April 23, “to protect the State Department, the Administration deliberately removed references to al-Qaeda-linked groups and previous attacks in Benghazi in the talking points used by Ambassador Rice.” (We now know that the CIA’s Mike Morrell actually took out those references.)
The report says Rice “was informed that the talking points were created for Congressional members, and modified to protect State Department equities and the FBI investigation.” The phrase “State Department equities” is awfully close to the language of the summaries provided to ABC’s Jonathan Karl, as well as the justification of the summaries. Only House Intelligence Committee chair Mike Rogers was both on the committee that saw the emails and signed the House report, but obviously the report, and the “equities” line, could be based on the emails of many representatives’ staffers.
I’d have put money on the House even without this detective work, since we already knew that House Republicans are fools and knaves. Witness their demand to vote for the 37th time to repeal or defund the Affordable Care Act yesterday.
Back in March Abby hid a rawhide bone somewhere in the house. I was out this afternoon, and when I came back and let her in she went haring off toward the back of the house. Back she came into the family room with a rawhide bone (hopefully the same one she hid two months ago). She promptly leapt up onto the couch and prepared to settle down with it.
Mean ol’ Linkmeister snaffled it away from her and put it outside, and she’s now carrying it around looking for a suitable hidey-hole where no other evil dog can find it. It reminds me of this:
There’s nothing quite like it unless it’s school board elections. You get a ballot in the mail for your neighborhood board, open it, look at the candidates, realize you know none of them, and then agonize for a little while as to which of these people should represent you on this most local of all democratic institutions. You read their one or two sentence biographies and if you’re like me, you mentally flip coins.
This time I had two choices for one at-large seat and six choices for four sub-district seats.
I’ll give Honolulu credit, though. Each Board has a website where you can find both past and future agendas and minutes, and you can vote online for these unpaid seats.
As if ticket prices weren’t already so high as to make one think twice about flying, now we learn that the weaselly money-hungry airlines have collected six billion dollars in various fees, from charges for checking one or more pieces of luggage to charges for overweight bags to fees for reservations changes.
And, had it not been for that $6 billion, the industry would have lost money.
The airlines took in $159.5 billion in revenue last year and had expenses of $153.6 billion, according to the government. That 3.7% profit margin comes entirely from the baggage and change fees.
He’s terribly offended by the news that some mid-level IRS employees were classifying conservative 501(c)4 outfits by name in order to determine whether they lived up to the rules for those type of organizations. He’s SO offended that he wants the IRS Commissioner to resign.
Only there is no such person. The guy who was Commissioner at the time resigned back in November of 2012 and has not yet been replaced. Jonathan Chait:
The position of IRS commissioner is vacant, which may explain why Rubio’s letter calls for “the IRS Commissioner’s resignation” but doesn’t name whom Rubio wants to resign. Does he want the acting commissioner to resign? The old commissioner to re-resign? Appoint a new commissioner and then force that person to immediately resign?
I vote for the third option. It would be highly amusing.
Every Sunday CNN’s “Your Money” airs at 9:00AM HST, and it fits a hole in our TV-watching schedule (I think Mom likes Ali Velshi’s sense of humor, too). Today the host was talking to a panel of guests about the bull market in stocks and whether it was too late to get in (in my experience, if TV people are asking that question, the answer is “yes.”). They cited a poll which showed something like 53% of Americans had money in stocks and 47% did not. Stephen Moore, former Club for Growth honcho and now columnist for the WSJ, was pounding the table saying “they gotta invest, they gotta get in.” “Why aren’t people investing,” somebody asked.
Well, hell, you idiots. Maybe because incomes for everyone not in the top 5% of the population have at best stagnated and at worst dropped over the past ten, twenty and thirty years and they have no money to spare? The market looks like a gamble unless you’ve got a long time horizon, and in this era of mass layoffs and long periods of unemployment, who can afford to tie money up for five or ten years?
All these well-fed and well-paid television “reporters” and anchors need to get out more.
Well, that’s an overstatement. I was in a parking structure the other day trying to back out of a tight spot next to a support column. I misjudged the distance the passenger-side external mirror extended and brushed the column hard enough to break the clips which hold the mirror cap on, and then compounded that error by not stopping before I ran over the cap. After muttering a few expletives, I got out and picked up the part, threw it in the back and went on my way.
I called the local dealership about replacing it, and they said they had one in stock for $38. Not so bad, I thought, until they told me it was unpainted. If I wanted to match it with the driver-side mirror cap I’d have to take it to a body and paint shop to have it painted. Well, yes, I do want the two to match, so in addition to buying the part I now have to pay to have it painted. Fortunately I found a paint shop down the hill from my house where I was able to leave the part overnight and have it painted; they just called to say “come by after noon and we’ll put it on for you.”
This little exercise is going to cost me upwards of $100. Be careful when driving in parking structures!