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Big Oil and citizenship
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mrgybe



Joined: 01 Jul 2008
Posts: 4571

PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

swchandler wrote:
Well, none of her drama and BS fooled me.

Dear Subject,

Thank you for your unquestioning acceptance of government overreach and your rejection of the ridiculous notion that government and it's various departments are servants of the taxpayers who fund them. This is indeed "fake patriotism". Thank you also for recognizing that the law and regulations establishing 501c4 entities have only been in place since 2002, and their predecessors since 1913. It takes time for IRS agents to understand those rules......12 years is hardly enough time. We are grateful that so many don't understand the tax status of 501c4s.......it helps our defenders infer that someone is receiving an inappropriate tax deduction.

Finally, thank you for your irretrievable bias which enables you to assign blame to the ordinary citizen rather than to a powerful agency whose CEO has already admitted that it's actions were inexcusable.

Keep sending the money. We have a convention to pay for.

Yours Omnipotently,

The IRS.
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swchandler



Joined: 08 Nov 1993
Posts: 9491

PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mrgybe, I guess that you don't view tea parties as politically focused organizations. On top of that, like recognized social charities, I'm guessing that you think that they shouldn't be paying any taxes at all. Just rubber stamp them, and move on quickly in the name of freedom and liberty. No reason to question them about anything, right? That would be blatant discrimination of the worse sort. It's all so patriotic and right.

To me, it's pretty clear that politically focused organizations are money magnets that are created to bend minds and votes to satisfy the wants and desires of those who are contributing money. Just another way to lobby government and influence politics. And, of course, just like political lobbyists, they profit hugely spreading the seed. Just ask Karl Rove.

You know, the thing missing in all the whipped up media hoopla about tea party organizations being unfairly treated by the IRS is any real discussion of why these organizations deserve to be tax exempt. Where's all the evidence of their charitable social efforts, to include proof of how they've benefited society as a whole? Of course, all that's conveniently invisible to the public right now.
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mrgybe



Joined: 01 Jul 2008
Posts: 4571

PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The IRS has acknowledged it targeted conservatives and conservative organizations. This is no longer in dispute. Try to accept it.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 13102
Location: Berkeley, California

PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Still waiting for a detailed explanation of how the alleged behavior of Lisa Jackson is any different from that of Halliburton Cheney. Could this be the Wizard of Ooze's side slide? Avoid the main issue by sliding off to the side on a tangent? Or how about a comparison with Anne Gorsuch?

Quote:
February 12, 2001 — The composition of the team that advised George W. Bush on the Environmental Protection Agency during his transition to the presidency signals a new era of a weakening federal role and a bias toward free-market solutions in complying with environmental regulations, say veteran EPA observers.

Just over half of the team comes from companies, industry associations, investment firms or lawyer-lobby shops that routinely represent corporate views on Capitol Hill or in litigation against the agency. The team still holds sway with EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman.

The new direction disheartens environmentalists, who prefer strong federal government and regulations, but thrills those who believe the next level of environmental performance lies with market-driven measures.

The 45-member advisory team submitted policy and organizational ideas, identified priorities and made hiring recommendations to the Bush-Cheney transition staff that were forwarded to Whitman in January, said Christopher DeMuth, Bush’s chief environmental adviser during the 2000 campaign. And some members will likely get high-level EPA positions themselves.

Talked with their wallets

Roughly two-thirds of the advisers also talked with their wallets during the last election cycle, with several giving in five or six figures. Collectively, they chipped in $133,583 — mostly to Republican races, if not directly to the Bush campaign — and that’s not counting any donations that might have gone to recount, transition, inaugural or other special funds not monitored by the Federal Election Commission. Nor does it include any contributions from spouses. Of the total, $20,000 went directly to Bush.

(Some of the advisers crossed party lines to give at least $17,700, roughly 13 percent of their collective contributions, to Democratic campaigns or political action committees, including those of former Vice President Al Gore and his opponent in the primary race, former Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey. Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, second-term Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, freshman New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and the League of Conservation Voters, among others, also received cash.)

While the advisory team’s written work and conference calls have pretty much ended, Whitman is likely interviewing some of the advisers. “I’m sure Whitman will call some of the advisers in. Some she is considering for senior positions,” DeMuth, who is president of the conservative American Enterprise Institute and a member of the transition advisory team, told The Public i. “Often the head of an agency will be talking to people, getting their ideas, but also seeing if she’d like to have them on board.”

Calls seeking comment from Whitman’s office and the White House were not returned.

Aside from the 23 EPA advisers who come from or represent industry, eight are from nonprofit think tanks or universities — some of whom are considered moderate or neutral, some of whom have conservative or libertarian leanings. Four members are identified as working for environmental organizations that embrace voluntary or incentive-based “free market” measures to reduce pollution. Other mainstream environmental groups that prefer mandates and regulations — such as the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council and Friends of the Earth — are not represented.

Ten advisers come from Republican state or city administrations, or the interstate regulators’ organization, the Environmental Council of the States. Environmentalists are quick to point out, however, that these regulators are not leaders in enforcement — and that many of these states have fought hard with the EPA in recent years over who has local control. For example, Virginia — whose Natural Resources Secretary John Paul Woodley Jr. is on the team – has been accused of lax enforcement by EPA for the past few years. And the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, whose executive director Jeff Saitas is another team member, is “a train wreck” that appointed industry stewards and is not much of a watchdog, according to one environmentalist who considers the commission a disaster.

“The commission is called a train wreck because they have traditionally been industry-influenced, especially under [then-Gov.] George W. Bush,” Joan Mulhern, legislative counsel for Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund, said in an interview. (Formerly called the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, Earthjustice is a separate organization that continues to represent the club in legal matters.) “They are the ones who came up with this bogus clean-air rule where industry would voluntarily clean up emissions from older sources. The Bush administration [in Texas] touted this as being a model, and the environmental community — I think universally — called it a sellout,” Mulhern continued.

Many environmentalists are discouraged. “When we saw that team [announced], it was real grim, especially the lack of grass roots-based organizations, the predominance of corporate interests, and the swinging door between industry and government,” said Jane Nogaki, pesticide program organizer for the New Jersey Environmental Federation, a coalition of 90 groups.

‘Not at the table’

“There’s everything from oil to agriculture, which are two industries that will be tightly regulated in the way of pesticides, [water] pollution and air quality. Where’s the Clean Air Council, Clean Water Action or the Public Interest Research Group? These are the groups doing the activist work, and they’re not at the table,” Nogaki continued.

But Robert Murphy, an environmental lawyer in Binghamton, N.Y., who specializes in the contaminated, former industrial sites called “brownfields”, said the Bush-Cheney staff rounded up a group of national organizations, related industries and large law firms “which unsurprisingly have an overall Republican bent. The major segments of the environmental stakeholders are represented, but I would not expect environmentalists with a strong Democratic bent to be totally satisfied.”

Panel’s composition signals ‘cooperative’ direction

Environmentalists and other observers say the EPA advisory team’s composition signals the new administration’s approach to compliance and general management: incentives, voluntary and “cooperative” programs for companies to be good actors, and more devolution of power to the states. They cite Whitman’s speech at her Jan. 17 Senate confirmation hearing, in which she told the Environment and Public Works Committee: “We are ready to enter a new era of environmental policy — an era that requires a new philosophy of public stewardship and personal responsibility. To discover what this new era will look like, one need only look to the states.” Whitman then described her home state of New Jersey as “moving beyond the ‘command and control’ model of mandates, regulations and litigation. We are, instead, working to forge strong partnerships among citizens, government and business that are built on trust, cooperation and shared mutual goals.”

As examples of the new philosophy, Whitman pointed to New Jersey incentives to encourage voluntary reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, the promotion of energy efficiency and renewable technologies, and the provision of $15 million to help towns clean up brownfield sites and market them for reuse.

“Mine is the only state in America with a reimbursement program for private parties that voluntarily clean up sites,” the former governor said. In case any points were lost on the senators, she told them, “I do expect to bring to my job an understanding — and an empathy — for what it is like to be on the receiving end of directives from Washington.”

23 represent industry

Among the 23 corporate, lawyer or investment firm representatives on the EPA advisory team are Jamie Conrad, senior counsel for the American Chemistry Council (formerly the Chemical Manufacturers Association), and Jim Ford, the American Petroleum Institute’s federal regulations director. Andrew Sharkey III, president and CEO of American Iron and Steel Association, and Steve Sandherr, CEO of Associated General Contractors, are also on the team. All four of these groups regularly appear before lawmakers concerning regulatory matters.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, which is represented on the panel by its executive director of legislative affairs, Dale Moore, is suing the EPA for trying to tighten water pollution regulations. And Charles Grizzle, who heads up his own environmental consultancy in the Washington area, advises his clients on how to prepare for, or prevent, regulatory action. Among the Grizzle Co.‘s clients is the International Council of Shopping Centers.

Of the EPA advisers, Grizzle is also the second-biggest donor, having doled out $15,250 to various campaigns and PACs in the 1999-2000 election cycle, of which $2,000 went directly to the Bush campaign, according to the Federal Election Commission records.

Regulators-turned-regulated

Many of the advisers from industry have followed a career path so common in Washington, D.C.: garnering early experience on Capitol Hill or in a federal agency, then turning to legal-lobby shops or industry associations later in life. Several have top-level experience at the EPA itself, including two former administrators under Republican presidents. Those two are founding administrator William D. Ruckelshaus, now a strategic director of the Madrona Venture Group and chairman of the World Resources Institute, and Aqua International founder William K. Reilly, who is identified by the Bush team in his role with the World Wildlife Fund, the world’s largest private conservation organization.

President Nixon chose Ruckelshaus as EPA’s first director in 1970; he came back for a second stint during the Reagan administration. In the interim, he started up his own law firm — the precursor to today’s Beveridge and Diamond, which still specializes in environmental law and represents corporate interests before the EPA — and then joined timber company Weyerhaeuser as a top executive.

Ruckelshaus pushed the revolving door again after his second EPA tour of duty, serving as a board member of several companies, starting up his own environmental consulting firm, and eventually joining Houston-based waste disposal company Browning-Ferris Industries.

His appointment as a Browning-Ferris director in June 1987 came roughly one month after the EPA had filed a $70 million lawsuit alleging thousands of violations by the company at a Louisiana landfill. In August 1988, Browning-Ferris and the EPA agreed to a controversial $1.1 million settlement, and the next month, Ruckelshaus was named president and CEO at a salary exceeding $1 million, Industry Week reported at the time. (In Toxic Temptation, a 1993 report by the Center for Public Integrity, Philip Angell, then Browning-Ferris’ spokesman, said that Ruckelshaus accepted only $800,000.)

Gary Baise, now a lawyer at Baise Miller & Freer, was chief of staff to Ruckelshaus at EPA, then became the director of its office of legislation before holding two posts at the Justice Department in the mid-1970s. In recent years, Baise has defended New Albany, Ky., against the EPA over sewage overflows into the Ohio River and the Washington Association of Wheat Growers (he represents the national group as well) against state regulators over the practice of field burning, used by farmers as a cheap, efficient way to clear, weeds and disease-bearing pests. Baise’s firm has also been involved in a national challenge in the Supreme Court over EPA’s small-particulate, or soot, standard.

Gordon L. Binder is another who spun the turnstile from EPA to the private sector. The chief of staff of former administrator Reilly during the first Bush administration, Binder continues to work at Reilly’s side at Aqua International Partners, a $232 million, San Francisco-based fund that invests in water services to developing countries. Aqua International was founded with support from the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation and is a member of the Fort Worth investment firm Texas Pacific Group.

Binder has also been a senior fellow at the World Wildlife Fund since 1993 and is a member of an environmental technologies trade committee advising 19 federal agencies.

Reilly considers the “always objective” Binder to have been “the unsung hero” of his tenure at EPA, he told the agency’s History Office in an interview. “Gordon missed nothing, spotted problems and quietly fixed them, shaped up personnel, alerted me to various agency weaknesses or threats, and faithfully communicated my views,” Reilly told the EPA historians. “No one was more helpful to me or to the agency in the Bush administration than Gordon Binder.”

Another lawyer-lobbyist with executive branch experience, Jeff Holmstead is now with Latham & Watkins in Washington, where he is registered to lobby for wireless technology companies “on measures designed to promote competition and eliminate entry barriers,” according to lobbying records. Latham & Watkins’ other clients include the Ad Hoc Industry Group on Regulatory Reinvention, the Alliance for Constructive Air Policy, Bell Atlantic, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Montrose Chemical Co. and the Semiconductor Industry Association. Holmstead was a lawyer in the Office of White House Counsel under the senior Bush administration.

And Elliott Laws, a former EPA official and environmental litigator for the Justice Department, now heads Texaco’s safety, health and environment division. Texaco is an associate member of the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association, which on Jan. 23 sued the EPA over its new diesel sulfur rule, claiming it is “too strict” and costly. The industry group also opposes EPA’s mandate to add ethanol as an oxygenate to reformulated gasoline, and is in favor of voluntary and self-compliance measures, such as toxicity testing of substances known as high production volume chemicals.

Rich Innes, who runs his own consulting shop in the Washington area, was once a staff member for the late Sen. John Chafee, R-R.I. (Widely admired for his ability to work across party lines, Chafee was a moderate who, for instance, opposed drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; opening the refuge is a Bush priority.) Innes now lobbies for Browning-Ferris Industries, where he used to be the chief in-house lobbyist, and for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. He and Ruckelshaus are considered to be close associates.

Bob Grady, a bureaucrat-turned-venture capitalist, started out working at the gubernatorial and congressional level, became the chief speechwriter and senior adviser for the 1988 Bush-Quayle campaign, and then served in that administration’s Office of Management and Budget. He now counts himself among the heavy hitters at the Carlyle Group, where he is a partner and managing director in venture capital. (Carlyle is headed by former Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci, who has recruited several ex-Reagan and Bush staffers, including former Secretary of State James Baker and past budget chief Richard Darman. Billionaire financier George Soros and members of the Mellon family are also partners.) Grady also gave $9,000 to various federal campaigns in the past two years, $1,000 of that directly to Bush.

Having acted as lead counsel on the Clean Air Act for the House Energy and Commerce Committee when Republicans were in the minority in the early ’90s, Charles Knauss is now a partner at Swidler Berlin Shereff Friedman in Washington. He represents the industry group Air Quality Standards Coalition, whose 600-plus business and industry members — including the National Association of Manufacturers, American Petroleum Institute and auto makers — opposed EPA’s tightened standards for soot and smog. He also lobbies for Exxon Chemical Co., General Electric, and the National Sediments Coalition — other clients whose business comes before his old committee.

And Ray Ludwiszewski (who is also on Bush’s Justice advisory panel) of the D.C. law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher represents Lockheed Martin Corp. Another regulator-turned-lobbyist, Ludwiszewski was general counsel for EPA and the agency’s assistant administrator for enforcement under the first Bush administration.


Mrgybe prefers EPA directors to be industry folks who talk only to the industry.
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swchandler



Joined: 08 Nov 1993
Posts: 9491

PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 3:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"The IRS has acknowledged it targeted conservatives and conservative organizations. This is no longer in dispute. Try to accept it."


We'll just have to wait and see what comes out of the scene. As you know quite well by now, I'm not all up in arms about the IRS and their alleged inappropriate targeting of tea party political groups. I personally feel that the IRS's close scrutiny of 501c4 applications from political groups is warranted, even if it wasn't done that efficiently. In the end, I think Republicans will be sorely disappointed when they can't blame everything on President Obama.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 19292

PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mrgybe wrote:
It's called the Bruiser Bounce..........

Step 1. Post a silly, or fabricated, or wildly inaccurate accusation
Step 2. Be proven wrong, or made to look foolish
Step 3. Bounce to a totally unrelated silly, fabricated or wildly inaccurate accusation and repeat

Intersperse steps 1 & 3 liberally with name calling, personal slurs and defamatory comments.

I didn't bother to dignify it with a name; I just PLONKED it after maybe the 50th iteration.
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techno900



Joined: 28 Mar 2001
Posts: 3478

PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's all so simple............

If all 501c4 applicants were asked to provide the same information as the "targeted" groups, there would be no issue. Plus, if the time frame for review of all applicants was the same, then there would be no issue.
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mrgybe



Joined: 01 Jul 2008
Posts: 4571

PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Indeed it is simple............and a starkly obvious example of abuse of power. And the pattern continues.........remember the outrage when the Bush Administration monitored the overseas 'phone calls of suspected terrorists after 9/11? It will be interesting to see the reaction to the Obama Administration secretly monitoring the 'phone records of millions of ordinary Americans. Secretly monitoring our 'phone calls, seizing the records of journalists, directing IRS retaliation against those with differing political views. This is starting to feel like a Tom Clancy novel.
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capetonian



Joined: 11 Aug 2006
Posts: 1103
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

techno900 wrote:
It's all so simple............

If all 501c4 applicants were asked to provide the same information as the "targeted" groups, there would be no issue. Plus, if the time frame for review of all applicants was the same, then there would be no issue.


Exactly. Nice summary and end of argument.
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boggsman1



Joined: 24 Jun 2002
Posts: 7523
Location: at a computer

PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mrgybe wrote:
Indeed it is simple............and a starkly obvious example of abuse of power. And the pattern continues.........remember the outrage when the Bush Administration monitored the overseas 'phone calls of suspected terrorists after 9/11? It will be interesting to see the reaction to the Obama Administration secretly monitoring the 'phone records of millions of ordinary Americans. Secretly monitoring our 'phone calls, seizing the records of journalists, directing IRS retaliation against those with differing political views. This is starting to feel like a Tom Clancy novel.

Theres no evidence that the white house directed the IRS to retaliate, but don't let that stand in the way of your storyline.
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