Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Immigration and GOP Prospects

At the Center for Immigration Studies, Jim Gimpel has a new analysis of immigration's partisan impact.  From the summary:
Three key conclusions emerge from this analysis:
  • First, the enormous flow of legal immigrants in to the country — 29.5 million 1980 to 2012 — has remade and continues to remake the nation's electorate in favor of the Democratic Party.
  • Second, the partisan impact of immigration is relatively uniform throughout the country— from California to Texas to Florida — even though local Republican parties have taken different positions on illegal immigration. The decline does not seem to vary with the local Republican Party's position on illegal immigration.
  • Third, if legal immigration levels remain at the current levels of over one million a year, it will likely continue to undermine Republicans' political prospects moving forward. Further, if the substantial increases in legal immigration in Senate's Gang of Eight bill (S.744) were to become law it would accelerate this process. Conversely, lowering the level of legal immigration in the future would help stem the decline in the Republican vote.
Three related findings help explain why immigration reduces the Republican vote:

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Tax Issue

Gallup reports:
 As many Americans scramble to prepare their taxes ahead of the April 15 deadline, a majority, 52%, say the amount they have to pay in federal income tax is "too high," while 42% say it is "about right." The percentage who say their taxes are too high has hovered around 50% since 2003, although the current 52% is up from 46% two years ago.
Trend: Americans’ Views on Their Federal Income Taxes

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sun Tzu and the Kochs

Sun Tzu, The Art of War:
When the enemy is at ease, be able to weary him; when well fed, to starve him; when at rest, to make him move. Appear at places to which he must hasten; move swiftly where he does not expect you.
...
The enemy must not know where I intend to give battle. For if he does not know where I intend to give battle he must prepare in a great many places. And when he prepares in a great many places, those I have to fight in any one place will be few.
Nicholas Confessore reports at The New York Times:
Democrats in races that will help determine control of the Senate are rapidly burning through their campaign cash, whittling away their financial advantage over Republican opponents as they fend off attacks from conservative groups, according to figures released through Friday.
The spending on both sides underscores the critical role that outside conservative groups are playing as Republicans try to retake the Senate. In state after state, organizations like Americans for Prosperity, the nonprofit linked to the conservative billionaires David H. and Charles G. Koch, have kept Democrats on the defensive with a barrage of negative ads while establishment-backed Republican candidates raise money and navigate their way through primaries.
In Alaska, the Democratic incumbent, Senator Mark Begich, spent about as much money as he raised during the first three months of the year, while Dan Sullivan, a Republican candidate and former state attorney general, increased his fund-raising and substantially narrowed Mr. Begich’s advantage in cash on hand.
In Montana, Senator John Walsh, a Democrat, spent almost three-quarters of the money he raised since January, ending with about $700,000. Representative Bruce Braley of Iowa, the likely Democratic nominee for Senate, spent over 60 percent of the cash he raised.
Senator Mary L. Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, spent only about a third of what she collected through the end of March. But last month, Ms. Landrieu reserved $2.7 million of advertising time, according to strategists tracking both parties’ television spending, which will cut deeply into the $7.5 million she reported at the beginning of April.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Scandalabra Continues: More on the IRS

Washington, DC – Today, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) announced that the Committee, acting under its authority granted in Sec. 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code, voted out a criminal referral letter to Department of Justice (DOJ) Attorney General Eric Holder regarding actions taken by IRS employee Lois Lerner. Chairman Camp, in sending the letter on behalf of the Committee, urged Holder to take a serious review of the evidence uncovered through the Committee’s investigation to determine whether Lerner violated criminal statutes.
The Committee uncovered three specific acts undertaken by Lerner that may have violated one or more criminal statutes documented in the letter:
  • Lerner impeded official investigations by providing misleading statements in response to questions from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).
  • Lerner risked exposing, and may actually have disclosed, confidential taxpayer information, in apparent violation of Internal Revenue Code section 6103 by using her personal email to conduct official business.

If convicted of these crimes, Lerner could face up to 11 years in prison.
Upon releasing the letter, Chairman Camp stated, “This investigation has uncovered serious, unprecedented actions taken by Lois Lerner that deprived conservative groups of their rights under the Constitution. Almost a year ago we learned that the IRS subjected certain groups to extra scrutiny because of their political beliefs. At the time, Lois Lerner shamefully attempted to blame the mistreatment on low-level employees in Cincinnati. The investigation to date has demonstrated that the targeting did not happen until IRS headquarters in D.C. intervened.
Today’s action highlights specific wrongdoing for the Department of Justice to pursue. DOJ has a responsibility to act, and Lois Lerner must be held accountable. It is also important that the American people know what really occurred at the IRS, so this powerful agency cannot target American taxpayers ever again.”

The Internal Revenue Code explicitly provides a procedure for the House Ways and Means Committee to release taxpayer information to the House under section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code. The letter to DOJ was marked up by the Committee in closed executive session. Upon approval of the letter, it was then made public to the House.

The letter to DOJ can be read here.

Timeline of Lois Lerner’s Targeting of Conservatives

January 21, 2010:
Citizen’s United Ruling : Supreme Court issues ruling in Citizens United case, which would lead to an active campaign by Democrats against conservative groups – a campaign Lerner was well aware of and reacted to.
January 27, 2010:
President Obama Goes on the Attack : In his State of the Union address, President Obama states: “With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign corporations – to spend without limit in our elections. I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities.”
March-April 2010:
IRS Targeting Begins : According to TIGTA, the IRS’s Determinations Unit “began searching for other requests for exemption involving the Tea Party, Patriots, 9/12 and IRC § 501(c)(4) applications involving political sounding names, e.g., 'We the People' or
'Take Back the Country.'"
September 26, 2010:
White House Steps Up Attacks: David Axelrod, then-senior advisor to President Obama, referred to Crossroads GPS and similar groups as “front groups for special interests. These are front groups for foreign-controlled companies, which would have been banned under the bill that we put through Congress, and they don't want the American people to know, and the American people ought to be alert to that."
October 12, 2010:
Democrat Leaders Join Attack: Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin urges the IRS to investigate the tax status of Crossroads GPS and “other orgs” – though no other organizations were named.
October 19, 2010:
Lerner on Alert: Speaking to students at Duke University, Lois Lerner states that 501(c)(4) organizations were spending money on campaign activity in the wake of the Citizens United decision and claimed, “[E]verybody is screaming at us, ‘fix it now before the election….”
February 2011:
Lerner Calls Conservatives “Dangerous,” Start to Take Control: Lois Lerner sends email to IRS employees “Tea Party Matter very dangerous ….Cincy should probably NOT have these cases.”
March 24, 2011:
Democrats Step Up Attacks : DCCC launches website to “expose donors of Crossroads GPS.”
June 3, 2011:
Congressional Inquiries Begin: Chairman Camp sends letter to Commissioner Shulman inquiring about IRS targeting of taxpayers who donated money to conservative groups, as well as information regarding audits of 501(c)(4) organizations.
June 19, 2012:
White House Continues to Attack: President Obama’s lawyer demands that Crossroads GPS disclose its donors, saying in a complaint to the Federal Election Commission that the group is plainly a “political committee” subject to federal reporting requirements.
February 1, 2012:
Democrats Continue to Attack : National Public Radio reports that Senate Democrats, led by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), want to investigate groups such as Crossroads GPS.
July 10, 2012:
Lerner’s Mindset Revealed : Lois Lerner, in response to a story sent to her regarding the complaint to the FEC against Crossroads GPS replies “Perhaps the FEC will save the day.”
July 17, 2012:
Lerner Starts to Prepare Cover Story : Lerner sent an email to Holly Paz and Nikole Flax offering comments on a talking point that referred to an “uptick in political advocacy cases,” drafted for then-Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement Steve Miller. However, Lerner admits that, “I know we don't have published SOI stats” to support such a claim." [See letter to DOJ]
July 27, 2012:
Democrats Attack, Again : Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) sends another letter to the IRS regarding Crossroads GPS and others, seeking a probe and status.
December 14, 2012:
IRS Leaks : Crossroads GPS’s application is leaked to ProPublica, though the tax-exempt status of the group had not been determined, a violation of federal law.
November 2, 2012:
Lerner Misleads TIGTA : Lerner sends misleading response to TIGTA investigatory audit questionnaire. [See letter to DOJ]
January 4, 2013:
Lerner Leaps Into Action : Lerner organizes a meeting with Democracy 21 and also with the Office of Chief Counsel and the Office of Tax Policy at the Department of the Treasury for January 4. This begins a series of specific actions by Lerner that targets only conservative groups. [See letter to DOJ]
January 4, 2013:
Lerner Pressures Review Committee : Lerner inquires to the status of Crossroads, and finds that the group had not been selected for audit. She subsequently sent an email to the Director of Examinations in Dallas, TX, Nanette Downing, demanding to know why the group had not yet been audited. In her email to Downing, she notes that she wants all moves regarding Crossroads to be coordinated in DC. [See letter to DOJ]
January 24, 2013:
Lerner Ponders Job for Obama Organization : In response to a news story about the formation of the President’s Organizing For Action, a 501(c)(4), Lerner remarked to EO Senior Technical Advisor Sharon Light, “Oh—maybe I can get the DC office job!” [See letter to DOJ]
January 31, 2013:
Lerner Attempts to Influence Independent Appeals Process : In an email to the Chief of IRS Appeals, Chris Wagner, Lerner offers unsolicited advice on the independent appeals process notwithstanding a prohibition against such contact. [See letter to DOJ]
May 10, 2013:
Lerner Misleads Public : At an American Bar Association function, Lois Lerner, director of the IRS’s Exempt Organizations Division, publicly apologizes for what she claimed were inappropriate actions by the Cincinnati office of the IRS to subject conservative groups to extra scrutiny.
###

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Impact of Health Care Law

Susan Page reports at USA Today:
The Affordable Care Act looms as a powerful issue in this year's congressional elections, a USA TODAY/Pew Research Center Poll finds, and one that is reverberating in ways likely to boost the GOP.
In the survey, taken after President Obama announced a surprising 7.1 million Americans had signed up for health care through the law's exchanges, more than eight in 10 registered voters say a candidate's stance on the law will be an important factor in determining their vote. A 54% majority call it very important.
By 2-1, those who rate the issue as very important disapprove of the law.
That means it is more likely to motivate opponents than supporters to vote — a critical element in midterm elections when turnout often is low.
Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, chairman of the Republicans' Senate campaign committee, says he has seen other evidence of that intensity gap. "If you don't care about Obamacare, you're less likely to vote," he said at an interview with USA TODAY's Capital Download. "If you think Obamacare is good, it's not a big issue for you. But if you think it's bad, it's an intense one."

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Brown First, Donnelly Second, Spelling Last

The Field Poll reports that Tim Donnelly is running second in California's top-two primary
[Governor Jerry] Brown also holds a huge preference lead when likely voters in the June open primary election are asked whom they would support if the election were being held today. When listed with three Republicans, Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, Laguna Hills Mayor and businessman Andrew Blount and businessman Neel Kashkari, Brown is the choice of 57%. Donnelly places a distant second at 17%. No other candidate receives more than 3% of voter preferences.
A 2005 article by Donnelly:
Another challenge that I would love to see fought in the Supreme Court is the seemingly forgotten 9th Ammendment [sic], which says, "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." Why can't this Ammendment [sic] be used to override the "equal protection" clause of the 14th Ammendment [sic], which is clearly used to "deny" and "disparage" so many rights of American citizens in favor of lawbreakers.
The most notable, of course, is the questionable interpretation of the 14th Ammendment [sic] that allows any child born on US soil to become an instant citizen, in spite of the fact that the parents broke US Federal law just by being here. This "anchor baby" or "Jackpot Baby", using Terry Anderson's term, has rights to social services that law-abiding citizens can never get. The "baby" qualifies for welfare payments, and medicare [sic] because the parents, many of whom arrived shortly before the birth of their "anchor baby" have no assets in the United States that routinely disqualify our citizens known as the "working-poor". If you think this is discriminatory on it's [sic] face, you are not alone. This is a battle that must be fought and must be won if we are to prevail in saving our country.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tim Donnelly, Karl Rove, and Jim Bowie

At an NFIB meeting in Sacramento, Karl Rove discussed the California gubernatorial race. Carla Marinucci reports at The San Francisco Chronicle:
One source who was at the event told us that Rove said he’s met Neel Kashkari, the former Treasury Department official who is running for governor as a Republican. Although he didn’t deliver a formal endorsement, Rove told the audience “that if the Republicans have to pick someone to lose to Jerry Brown, they’d be stupid not to pick” Kashkari, the source told us.
Then Rove also weighed in on the Tea Party gubernatorial favorite, GOP Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, who was the first runner-up to Brown in a March poll by the Public Policy Institute of California.
“The comments that the other guy has made in the past are going to damage the party with Latinos on Election Day,” Rove said, according to our source.
At The Los Angeles Times, Seema Mehta provides an example:
Comparing illegal immigration to a war that threatened the United States' future, GOP gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly once exhorted citizens to rise and join his fight to stop people from crossing the border, according to audio of a speech he gave in 2006.

"I am a descendant of Jim Bowie, who died at the Alamo," Donnelly, then a leader in the Minuteman border-patrol group, said at a rally in Temecula that year. "It is rumored that he took a dozen Mexican soldiers to their deaths before they finally killed him. How many of you will rise up and take his place on that wall?"
He was speaking to about 200 people at a Save Our Nation event on March 25, 2006, held on the same day 500,000 people rallied in support of immigrant rights in Los Angeles, an event Donnelly noted.
"We are in a war. You may not want to accept it, but the other side has declared war on us," Donnelly said, railing against those marching with Mexican flags.
In the nearly 12-minute address, parts of which are patterned on the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, Donnelly refers to illegal immigration as an insurgency.
"There is a growing insurgency, right here in Los Angeles," he said. "…We need to begin to root out the insurgency in cities like Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, just as we are doing in Baghdad, Samarra and Tikrit, 9,000 miles away.
"Right now, in the United States of America, there are 850,000 gang members, two-thirds of whom are illegal aliens," he said.