by Tom Fitton –
The Hillary Clinton email scandal cover-up evidently isn’t keeping the Obama administration’s lawyers busy enough. This week, all of America learned, thanks to Judicial Watch, that the infamous former director of the Exempt Organizations Unit of the IRS Lois Lerner had yet another email account that may contain documents about the Obama IRS scandal. Our litigation forced the IRS to disclose this astonishing piece of news in a court filing earlier this week. The U.S. Department of Justice, on behalf of the IRS has filed a status report that provides us with some limited information about Lerner’s secretive email account:
In the process of preparing this status report and for the August 24, 2015, release of Lerner communications, the undersigned attorneys learned that, in addition to emails to or from an email account denominated “Lois G. Lerner” or “Lois Home,” some emails responsive to Judicial Watch’s request may have been sent to or received from a personal email account denominated “Toby Miles.” The undersigned attorneys contacted the Office of IRS Chief Counsel, and IRS Chief Counsel attorneys informed the undersigned attorneys that these denominations refer to a personal email account used by Lerner.
Evidently, “Toby Miles” refers to the Lerner family dog. (“Miles” is the last name of Ms. Lerner’s husband.)
The development comes in Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking documents about the Obama IRS’ targeting and harassment of Tea Party and conservative opponents of President Obama. Judicial Watch’s litigation forced the IRS first to admit that Lerner’s emails were supposedly missing and, then, that the emails were on IRS’ back-up systems.
It is remarkable that the Obama IRS and Justice Department waited two years to tell a federal court that Lois Lerner had a separate email account that contains documents at issue in the IRS scandal. Especially since both agencies knew about this account since April of last year.
It could be a crime if Lerner kept confidential taxpayer data on her non-governmental email account.
This new disclosure follows the Obama administration’s Nixonian practice of “modified limited hangouts” of information about its IRS scandal and Lerner’s “lost and found” emails. Every step of the way, the Obama IRS has obstructed this court’s orders to get Lerner’s emails recovered and searched.
Just to review, it was back in May 2013 that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) released an audit report confirming that the IRS used “inappropriate” criteria to identify Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations that had expressed opposition to the Obama administration’s policy agenda during his re-election bid. In May 2014, Lerner was held in contempt of Congress after refusing to testify at a congressional hearing about the agency’s actions. TIGTA has proven to be a real goldmine for the truth that the IRS has worked to conceal. Earlier this month, TIGTA released another report confirming that the IRS failed to conduct a timely search of its back-up tapes, resulting in 24,000 Lerner emails being destroyed. The TIGTA report also confirms that IRS Commissioner John Koskinen delayed informing Congress (and the courts) for months about Lerner’s email issue.
Last month, U.S District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan threatened to hold the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service and Justice Department attorneys in contempt of court after the IRS failed to produce status reports and newly recovered emails of Lerner, as he had ordered on July 1, 2015.
Earlier this year, TIGTA testified to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that it had received 744 backup tapes containing emails sent and received by Lerner. This testimony showed that the IRS had falsely represented to both Congress, Judge Sullivan, and Judicial Watch that Lerner’s emails were irretrievably lost.
As The Washington Times, whose Stephen Dinan first broke this JW story, points out, the IRS and Justice Department is still playing games even as it pretends to be forthcoming to the Court:
In his court filing, [Justice Department attorney] Mr. Klimas argued that the IRS had previously hinted there may be other personal email accounts, pointing back to a footnote in a letter attached to a June 27, 2014, brief that mentioned “documents located on her personal home computer and email on her personal email account.”
He altered that wording in his filing Monday, saying the database of Lerner emails turned over to Congress included messages from her “‘personal home computer and email on her personal email’ account(s).”
Since the court has already threatened both IRS Commissioner John Koskinen and Justice Department attorneys with a contempt charge over the Lerner email issue, I suspect that Judge Sullivan won’t be pleased by this latest revelation and gamesmanship.
Judicial Watch Seeks Accountability for
DNC’s Hire of Illegal Alien
The brazen lawlessness by this administration and its allies on illegal immigration knows no bounds. I was shocked to read that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) hired an illegal alien to help with its campaigns. The media played it as a “Dreamer” moment.
Your Judicial Watch is having none of that lawless approach to the rule of law on immigration.
We have just filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission requesting that it investigate the DNC for having “knowingly hired” an illegal alien, Cindy Nava, to help craft the committee’s 2016 political message and communications. Judicial Watch filed its complaint on August 25, 2015.
A June 8, 2015, story in The Washington Post reported that the DNC hired Nava with full knowledge of what DNC chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) termed Nava’s “undocumented status.” The news report details that “Despite not yet attaining legal status, Nava is working for the Democratic National Committee as one of a crop of fellows from around the country helping the party organize ahead of a presidential election that President Obama predicted would feature immigration as a major issue.” The Spanish language newspaper El Nuevo Herald reports that Nava would help coordinate DNC outreach to “women, youth, and Hispanics.”
Federal law prohibits foreign nationals from participating “directly or indirectly in the decision-making process” of federal, state, or local election-related activities.
The Judicial Watch FEC complaint charges:
The Democratic National Committee knowingly hired a Foreign National to assist, directly or indirectly, in setting the Committee’s Public Policy Agenda for its Candidates, the National Committee, and its Associated Organizations.
The United States has prohibited non-citizen participation in election related activities for over fifty years. The United States Supreme Court has held that such prohibitions are legally permissible under the U.S. Constitution… In 2002, Congress expanded the prohibitions on foreign nationals… to include “anything of value” that “directly or indirectly” contributes to a political campaign… The Commission has stated “foreign nationals [cannot] direct, control, or otherwise participate directly or indirectly in the decision-making process of [a] PAC.
On its face, the DNC’s decision to hire Ms. Nava is in direct violation of this provision. The FEC should investigate this matter further to determine the full extent of Ms. Nava’s responsibilities, her relationship to the policy making team, and her effect on the 2016 DNC election strategy.
The Democratic National Committee is Willfully and Knowingly violating Federal Law and Contradicting Federal Policy by Permitting a Foreign National to Contribute to the Conventions Campaigns, Election Strategy, and Fundraising Efforts
The United States Congress created a federal offense to knowingly hire an illegal alien. It is against Federal law “to hire, or to recruit…, for employment in the United States an alien knowing the alien is an unauthorized alien… There are two elements to this crime: (1) knowledge of the alien’s status, and (2) an employment offer…
Thus, the DNC is violating federal law by hiring Cindy Nava. Her fellowship constitutes expenditures under the FEC regulation, and therefore these illegal expenditures are within the scope of FEC regulations… They have actively employed Ms. Nava knowing that she lacked proper authorization to work in the United States.
Our request for a “full, formal investigation” concludes, “These actions are particularly egregious because the DNC flagrantly promotes their illegal activities, lawlessness, and disrespect for the rule of law.”
Is it any wonder this nation has a border and illegal alien crisis?
Not only do we have a major political party knowingly employing an illegal alien, but also openly boasting about it to the nation’s press. The DNC should be held accountable by the FEC for hiring an illegal alien in violation of both federal immigration and election laws. Frankly, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security should also take appropriate law enforcement action.
Federal Courts Are Not Above the Law
For decades, the courts have recognized the importance of safeguarding voters against gerrymandering abuses by passing and upholding the Three-Judge Court Act, a federal law that dates back to 1910.
The Act requires three-judge District Court panels to hear all constitutional challenges to legislative redistricting. This law also requires three federal judges to be empaneled to hear key federal lawsuits concerning voting rights, campaign finance, and other key constitutional issues unless a case is “obviously frivolous.”
Yet, in contravention of the Three-Judge Court Act, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit allowed a single District Court judge to rule on a critical Maryland gerrymandering case (Stephen M. Shapiro, et al. v. David J. McManus, Jr., Chairman, Maryland State Board of Elections, et al. (No. 14-990)). So on August 14, 2015, Judicial Watch filed an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court asking the court to reassert the rule of law and affirm the Three-Judge Court Act.
In 2013, one judge on the District Court ignored the requirement to convene a three-judge panel because he determined the case was not “plausible.” The Fourth Circuit upheld this decision in its 2014 ruling against Mr. Shapiro and fellow plaintiffs John Benisek, and Maria Pycha.
In November 2013, Shapiro, Benisek, and Pycha sued Maryland state officials alleging that the 2011 congressional districts established by the Maryland General Assembly violated their constitutional rights. When a single judge from the District Court dismissed the suit, the plaintiffs appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. In October 2014, the Fourth Circuit Court upheld the District Court ruling, denying the plaintiffs an hearing before a three-judge panel. In February 2015, the plaintiffs filed a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court, which the Supreme Court granted in June 2015.
Judicial Watch has a particular interest in this issue, as it represents several Maryland voters in a separate lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Maryland’s gerrymandered congressional district maps. Judicial Watch’s amicus brief argues that:
[T]he Fourth Circuit’s ruling violates the Three-Judge Court Act and will allow states to delay judicial review of gerrymandered redistricting plans that disenfranchise voters and violate the Constitution. Moreover, on June 24, 2015, Judicial Watch filed a new constitutional challenge to Maryland’s redistricting plan on behalf of several plaintiffs. See Parrott v. McManus, No. 1:15-cv-01849 (D. Md.). The plaintiffs have asked for a three-judge panel in Parrott, but no such panel has been convened yet, and a motion to dismiss is currently pending before the single judge initially assigned to the case.
Judicial Watch points out that the Fourth Circuit’s circumvention of federal law results in “an allocation of authority” to one federal court judge that “cannot be squared with Congress’ judgment-recognized by this Court and others-that apportionment challenges and other types of three-judge cases are too important to be decided in the first instance by a single judge. Nor is the difference between one and three judges merely a formality.”
Congress intended redistricting and other constitutional challenges under laws such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to be heard under the “exceptional procedure” of a special three-judge panel. In 1976, Congress specifically tried to ensure that redistricting cases were handled by such panels in order “to assure more weight and greater deliberation by not leaving the fate of such litigation to a single judge. By instead using motions to dismiss to limit access to three-judge courts, the Fourth Circuit has turned the Three-Judge Court Act’s purpose and framework on its head.”
The Three-Judge Court Act allows appeals from the three judge District Court panels to go directly to the Supreme Court, bypassing the federal Circuit Courts of Appeals. This statute assures a more speedy resolution to this important class of cases, which the Fourth Circuit’s rule undermines, especially in redistricting cases (which affect both federal and state elections):
And when the clock is always counting down towards the next election, such a delay can control whether the alleged constitutional violation can be remedied or if it is something that a state’s voters simply must swallow.
The 2013 lawsuit by Shapiro, Benisek, and Pycha came in response to a Congressional Districting Plan signed into law by then-Gov. Martin O’Malley in October 2011. Critics at the time charged that the new congressional map was specifically designed to enhance the power of select incumbents while minimizing the voting power of minorities, rural voters and Republicans. The Washington Post editorialized: “The map, drafted under Mr. O’Malley’s watchful eye, mocks the idea that voting districts should be compact or easily navigable. The eight districts respect neither jurisdictional boundaries nor communities of interest. To protect incumbents and for partisan advantage, the map has been sliced, diced, shuffled and shattered, making districts resemble studies in cubism.”
Earlier this year, when the Supreme Court was deciding whether to take up the Three-Judge Court Act challenge, Judicial Watch filed the only amicus brief the only amicus brief. Obviously, the Supreme Court agreed with Judicial Watch and the petitioners and granted cert. on June 8, 2015.
The Supreme Court should affirm the Three-Judge Court Act and remind the Fourth Circuit that the federal courts are not above the law. The Fourth Circuit subverts the law by allowing one judge inordinate power to effectively decide whether voters can challenge how a state draws congressional and state legislative districts.
The Supreme Court should now check this judicial legislating that makes it harder for voters to vindicate their constitutional rights.
Judicial Watch is working with attorneys Meir Feder and Rajeev Muttreja of the Jones Day law firm, who prepared and filed this amicus brief on Judicial Watch’s behalf.
Our work on this issue goes back several years.
Your JW first entered the Maryland redistricting battle on August 10, 2012, when it represented MDPetitions.com and Delegate Neil Parrott in its successful lawsuit to block a move by the state’s Democrat party to have an Election Day voter referendum on the state’s controversial gerrymandering plan removed from the ballot. Three weeks later, we again represented Delegate Parrott in filing a complaint against Maryland Secretary of State John McDonough and the State Board of Elections challenging the misleading language of the wording of the ballot question. The current constitutional challenge to the Maryland gerrymander is pending in federal court (Parrott, et al, v. Lamone, et al (No. 1:15-cv-01849).
The Supreme Court should rule by next summer.
Judicial Watch Announces its September 14 Leadership Summit on Washington Corruption and the Transparency Crisis
For anyone who cares about constitutional limited government and the rule of law, we are pleased to announce JW’s Leadership Summit “Washington Corruption and the Transparency Crisis.”
With our government off the rails and out of control, Judicial Watch’s inaugural Leadership Summit could not come at a better time. The event will take place on Monday, September 14 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Capitol Hill, and will focus attention on the actions of unaccountable, corrupt figures in both political parties.
Please join us for a full day of panel discussions and a special keynote speaker, plus many top-flight speakers including Fox News analyst Andy McCarthy, conservative Congressman Rep. Louie Gohmert, former federal prosecutor Joe diGenova, and Steve Bannon, Executive Chairman, of Breitbart News. You will not want to miss it! |Aug. 28, 2015
Tom Fitton – President
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