Bioterrorism Should Be a Bigger Concern than Ebola

David Inserra / Riley Walters /

The Ebola virus has been headline news in America as of late. While it is a dangerous disease that Washington needs to take seriously, America could face even an even greater medical threat in the future: the threat of bioterrorism.

According to a recent article by Matt Mayer, chief operating officer of the Liberty Foundation of America and former Department of Homeland Security official, the U.S. has been fortunate no successful bioterrorist attacks have occurred on U.S. soil.

But terrorists’ inability to successfully attack to U.S. is not due to their lack of trying. Mayer mentions a laptop that was found in a raid in the Middle East several months ago, containing details on the use of biological weapons.

“Despite spending billions in the interim, the federal government and our health-care system remain unprepared,” writes Mayer. A successful bioterrorist attack could do more damage to the American populace than a virus that requires a lot of work to treat the infected and and to protect those with whom they have come into contact.

The threat of a bioterrorism attack is not a new concern for America – it was a high priority on past and present administrations’ to do lists. Jim Carafano, vice president for the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy at The Heritage Foundation, has previously mentioned the need for the administration to focus more assistance on establishing a “national bioterrorism watch system” and ensure the [U.S. military’s] Northern Command is fully prepared for any such events.

The Heritage Foundation will host an event that provides more information on the Ebola virus on Monday, Oct. 17 entitled Ebola: U.S. Domestic and Foreign Policy Options.

A Republican Majority Won’t Cut It for Mike Lee. He Wants Something More. - Daily Signal

A Republican Majority Won’t Cut It for Mike Lee. He Wants Something More.

David Inserra / Riley Walters / Philip Wegmann /

HILLSDALE, Mich.—Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn introduced him as “the best statesman I’ve ever known.” But on Tuesday night, Sen. Mike Lee seemed less politician and more political philosophy professor as he diagramed the underpinnings of his conservative reform agenda.

While Lee predicted that Republicans will “win at least seven or eight” new seats to gain a majority in the Senate, he underscored the importance of articulating an enduring conservative message.

“Exposing the emptiness and ugliness of the progressive vision won’t be enough to advance our cause,” the Utah Republican told students. Instead, “we need to demonstrate in word and deed the virtues and the humanity of our vision.”

>>> Mike Lee to Take Over Conservative Senate Group

After the event, The Daily Signal spoke with Lee about President Obama’s handling of the Ebola virus that is plaguing three West African countries and alarming Americans in recent weeks.

Lee described Obama’s presidency as “reckless,” with the Ebola outbreak representing another example of a haphazard administration.

One issue that continues to plague both parties: Obama’s unconfirmed nominee for surgeon general, Vivek Murthy. The Senate has not acted on the nominee since his selection on Nov. 14, 2013.

Lee described Obama’s presidency as “reckless,” with the Ebola outbreak representing another example of a haphazard administration.

Liberals have placed blame on Republican “obstructionism,” but Lee said the delay is indicative of systemic Democrat irresponsibility. Pointing to numerous bills “that have passed the House of Representative but haven’t seen the light of day,” Lee argues that “under current Democrat leadership in the Senate, we’ve had nothing but obstruction.”

Lee expressed frustration that Republicans have shouldered responsibility for a delayed vote on the nomination “even though Democrats control the executive calendar.”

Even though Lee wouldn’t say whether he would vote for Murthy’s confirmation, he promised to “consider each nominee based on that nominee’s own merits.”

Meanwhile, as West Africa continues to grapple with Ebola, Lee said he supports a travel ban on commercial flights to and from countries facing an outbreak. He criticized Obama for failing to impose one.

“We have the potential for a global health epidemic,” Lee said. “If you initiated a travel ban, I can’t help but think it could make a difference.”

 

Justin Bieber’s Mom Helps Propel a Pro-Life Film to Successful Release - Daily Signal

Justin Bieber’s Mom Helps Propel a Pro-Life Film to Successful Release

David Inserra / Riley Walters / Philip Wegmann / Josh Shepherd /

Following over a year of rave reviews and prestigious awards at film festivals worldwide, this week the short film “Crescendo” attracted attention thanks to a release on YouTube for free viewing (above).

Based on the true story of Ludwig van Beethoven, “Crescendo” touches on issues ripped from today’s headlines—notably, sex trafficking, rape and the prevalence of chemical abortion.

The introspective, dream-like visual style of writer/director Alfonso Alvarez Barreda draws viewers into this 15-minute drama, in a vein similar to the feature-length film “Bella” (2006), which caught the eye of many mainstream filmgoers during its release.

It’s no wonder that Eduardo Verástegui, producer and star in “Bella,” served as producer on “Crescendo.” Formerly a model and music star in Mexico, he rediscovered his faith and launched Metanoia Films 10 years ago.

Verástegui isn’t the only name associated with the picture who has a story to tell. MTV announced the film’s YouTube release thanks to the involvement of Pattie Mallette as executive producer.

The mother of pop star Justin Bieber, she was advised during her pregnancy to abort her pre-born son due to her age and circumstances. Instead, she turned to a local crisis pregnancy center.

Mallette shared her story with the Wall Street Journal, an interview which mentions “Crescendo” and her memoir “Nowhere But Up.”

Crescendo is also a very personal project for co-producer Jason Jones, founder of Movie to Movement, who orchestrated the film’s marketing and promotional roll-out.

A recent interview notes:

Jones was just 17 when his pregnant girlfriend’s father, who discovered her secret when she tried to get prescription vitamins, forced her to abort her baby girl. ‘Crescendo’ is dedicated to Jessica Jones [his pre-born daughter lost to abortion], who would have been 23 at the time of the film’s release.

The short film has currently raised nearly $6 million to benefit pregnancy care centers.

Read more on Bound4LIFE.

Images from this Week’s News You Should See - Daily Signal

Images from this Week’s News You Should See

David Inserra / Riley Walters / Philip Wegmann / Josh Shepherd / Kelsey Harris /

Ebola is still leading news coverage, but this week, the headlines were joined by a fashion designer and an honorable Canadian soldier. Thanks to talented photo journalists, we have a recap here.

In Turkey, families gathered for the funeral of three Kurdish fighters killed by ISIS.

In July, Kobane and surrounding villages came under a massive attack from fighters of the ISIS. (Photo: Giannis Papanikos/Newscom)

In July, Kobane and surrounding villages came under a massive attack from fighters of the ISIS. (Photo: Giannis Papanikos/Newscom)

Three Kurdish fighters who were killed while fighting the Islamic State militants in Kobane were brought to the Turkish town of Suruc for a burial. (Photo: Giannis Papanikos/Newscom)

Three Kurdish fighters who were killed while fighting the Islamic State militants in Kobane were brought to the Turkish town of Suruc for a burial. (Photo: Giannis Papanikos/Newscom)

Legendary fashion designed Oscar de la Renta died Oct. 20 at age 82. He was famous for dressing first ladies ranging from Jackie Kennedy to Laura Bush.

Hillary Clinton and designer Oscar De La Renta attend the 2002 CFDA Fashion Awards held at the New York Public Library in New York City. (Photo: Newscom)

Hillary Clinton and designer Oscar De La Renta attend the 2002 CFDA Fashion Awards held at the New York Public Library in New York City. (Photo: Newscom)

This guy is “the face” of the new Republican ground game.

Rhett Johnson jogs from house to house while surveying voters. (Photo: Josh Siegel/The Daily Signal)

Rhett Johnson jogs from house to house while surveying voters. (Photo: Josh Siegel/The Daily Signal)

While attending one of this 426 fundraisers since in office (Bush had 318 over eight years), members of the crowd left while Obama was still speaking. 

President Obama campaigns at a Democratic Rally in support of Illinois Governor Pat Quinn at Chicago State University on Chicago's South Side. (Photo: Karen I. Hirsch/ZUMA Wire/Newscom)

President Obama campaigns at a Democratic Rally in support of Illinois Governor Pat Quinn at Chicago State University on Chicago’s South Side. (Photo: Karen I. Hirsch/ZUMA Wire/Newscom)

The Kansas City Royals are tied one-to-one in the World Series.

Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Kelvin Herrera (40) in front of fans during the MLB World Series Game 2. (Photo: Newscom)

Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Kelvin Herrera (40) in front of fans during the MLB World Series Game 2. (Photo: Newscom)

They face off in Game Three tonight.

San Francisco Giants left-fielder Travis Ishikawa dives for double hit. (Photo: Newscom)

San Francisco Giants left-fielder Travis Ishikawa dives for double hit. (Photo: Newscom)

Rep. Tom Coburn’s 2014 edition of “Wastebook” was released this week, and in it were hundreds of projects the government is spending tax dollars on. For example, the National Institute of Health funded a study to see if mothers love dogs as much as they love kids. Regardless of the results, this experiment cost taxpayers $371,026.

This mom loves her dog more than her kid. (Photo: Newscom)

This mom loves her dog more than her kid. (Photo: Newscom)

The Diwali Festival has begun in India. Diwali, also known as “festival of lights,” is celebrated in autumn every year by Hindus.

An Indian 'Nihang' or a man whose ancestors belonged to Sikh warrior clan, smiles supporting an over-sized turban as he takes part in a religious procession called Mohalla in Amritsar, India. (Photo: Newscom)

An Indian ‘Nihang’ or a man whose ancestors belonged to Sikh warrior clan, smiles supporting an over-sized turban as he takes part in a religious procession called Mohalla in Amritsar, India. (Photo: Newscom)

A Sadhu, or holy man, sits holding his pet monkey in his lap during a congregation of Sadhus at Diwali festival celebrations. (Photo: Newscom)

A Sadhu, or holy man, sits holding his pet monkey in his lap during a congregation of Sadhus at Diwali festival celebrations. (Photo: Newscom)

In Canada, a soldier fell in the service of his country. He was murdered as he guarded his country’s war memorial.

Canadian soldier Nathan Cirillo was killed in the Ottawa attack. (Photo: Newscom)

Canadian soldier Nathan Cirillo was killed in the Ottawa attack. (Photo: Newscom)

The gunman was later shot and killed inside the Canadian Parliament.

A woman wipes away tears after paying her respects for the dead soldier at the War Memorial in Ottawa, Canada, 23 October 2014.

A woman wipes away tears after paying her respects for the dead soldier at the War Memorial in Ottawa, Canada, 23 October 2014.

Matthew McConaughey made news for being “politically incorrect.”

Matthew McConaughey in a cover story in GQ magazine said he didn’t think the Washington Redskins should have to change their team’s name or logo. (Photo: Newscom)

Matthew McConaughey in a cover story in GQ magazine said he didn’t think the Washington Redskins should have to change their team’s name or logo. (Photo: Newscom)

Federal tax revenue surpassed $3 trillion for first time ever.

Yes, you read that right. (Photo: Newscom)

Yes, you read that right. (Photo: Newscom)

Hong Kong’s High Court ordered pro-democracy protesters occupying streets in Mong Kok to leave the area Monday evening, as demonstrations entered their fourth week. But those orders aren’t stopping the “umbrella revolution.”

Pro-democracy protesters gather to discuss politics in the street in Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China. (Photo: Newscom)

Pro-democracy protesters gather to discuss politics in the street in Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China. (Photo: Newscom)

Did This State Open an Avenue for Voter Fraud? See for Yourself - Daily Signal

Did This State Open an Avenue for Voter Fraud? See for Yourself

David Inserra / Riley Walters / Philip Wegmann / Josh Shepherd / Kelsey Harris / Melissa Quinn /

With Colorado a state that could shift the balance of power in the U.S. Senate, many an eye is on the matchup between the incumbent Democat, Sen. Mark Udall, and his Republican challenger, Rep. Cory Gardner.

Colorado also is one of three states conducting “all mail” voting this year, meaning registered voters get a ballot in the mail but still have the option of voting in person. The process, though, is a popular avenue for voter fraud.

In this new video from Project Veritas, a nonprofit dedicated to exposing government corruption and other misconduct, undercover filmmaker James O’Keefe catches Udall supporters on camera appearing to condone voter fraud through the all-mail system.

Polls show Gardner continues to to hold a lead over Udall. According to the latest poll from USA Today, Udall trails by seven points.

>>> Awkward: Candidates Struggle to Reply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ in Senate Debate

 

The Wrongdoers at the IRS Get Away Scot-Free - Daily Signal

The Wrongdoers at the IRS Get Away Scot-Free

David Inserra / Riley Walters / Philip Wegmann / Josh Shepherd / Kelsey Harris / Melissa Quinn / Hans von Spakovsky /

Federal district court Judge Reggie Walton has dismissed two lawsuits filed against the IRS, Lois Lerner and other agency employees by True the Vote, Linchpins of Liberty and forty other conservative organizations that were targeted by the IRS.

They were subjected to long delays in receiving their tax-exempt status and were inappropriately forced to provide information on their members, donors and political beliefs that the IRS was not entitled to and that was irrelevant to their tax-exemption application.

>>> Judge Sides With IRS, Dismisses Lawsuits by Conservative Groups Over Targeting Scandal

In two essentially identical decisions on Oct. 23, Walton granted all of the motions to dismiss that had been filed by the Obama administration and the individual IRS employees. Walton concluded that any claim about the long delays these organizations experienced in receiving their tax exempt status from the IRS was now moot because they had finally received the exemption.

The organizations tried to argue that the IRS could repeat its bad behavior in the future, but Walton noted that the IRS had publicly “suspended” its “targeting scheme” and the organizations had not met the “heavy burden” of proving that the “wrong will be repeated.” Walton considered the “prospect of future harm speculative.”

The organizations had also made a Bivens claim for money damages against the individual employees responsible for the “inappropriate targeting” by the IRS. Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Fed. Bureau of Narcotics is a 1971 case in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that a plaintiff can recover monetary damages from federal officials who violate their constitutional rights. However, Walton concluded that a Bivens claim was not appropriate here because of prior case law holding that a Bivens claim cannot be asserted against IRS employees in light of the “comprehensive remedial scheme” in the IRS Code that allows an organization like True the Vote to seek a declaratory judgment from a federal court when its tax-exempt “status has been denied.”

Without congressional action, there is nothing to deter employees like Lois Lerner from engaging in the same type of misbehavior again.

Finally, Walton dismissed the claim alleging a violation of 26 U.S.C. §6103, which protects the confidentiality of taxpayer information and bans improper inspection of that information. The conservative organizations argued that the IRS violated this statute by asking for inappropriate and unnecessary information. Walton concluded that the “real bone of contention” of the organizations was the IRS’s conduct “in acquiring that information,” and that §6103 “is silent as to how tax return information can be acquired.” Walton stated that even if he assumed that the IRS “improperly acquired the plaintiff’s tax return information, that does not compel a finding that such information was improperly inspected.” Again, because the IRS Code allows applicants to file suit in federal court over controversies arising from the tax-exempt application process, there is no remedy under §6103, according to Walton.

Unfortunately for the American taxpayer, this decision and the prior case law cited by Walton really leaves taxpayers targeted by IRS officials without an effective remedy against those officials. Walton is certainly correct that there is a court remedy for organizations that have been improperly denied tax-exempt status or had their application delayed that allows a federal court to overrule the IRS.

Section 6103 ought to be amended by Congress to ban the improper “acquisition” of information by the IRS, and the law prohibiting Bivens actions for damages against individual IRS employees who engage in unconstitutional, partisan and biased behavior ought to be changed, too. Otherwise, there is nothing to deter employees like Lois Lerner from engaging in the same type of misbehavior again in this or a future administration.

While the IRS might correct such behavior by publicly renouncing it, the employees who engage in wrongdoing can retire and collect their pension or simply get transferred to another office or division within the IRS and keep getting their salary paid by the same American taxpayers they have wronged. And that is wrong.

Is Next Step in War on Religious Liberty Inspection of Religious Schools? That’s Happening in the UK - Daily Signal

Is Next Step in War on Religious Liberty Inspection of Religious Schools? That’s Happening in the UK

David Inserra / Riley Walters / Philip Wegmann / Josh Shepherd / Kelsey Harris / Melissa Quinn / Hans von Spakovsky / Genevieve Wood /

There is no doubt that the rights the First Amendment protects–freedom of speech and freedom of religion–are increasingly the most attacked.

Some of the most recent high profile cases have revolved around the ongoing attempts by the government via Obamacare to force religious groups to provide contraception coverage in their health plans and taxpayers to fund elective abortion coverage in theirs.

Not to be outdone, zealots for same-sex marriage and issues surrounding “gender identity laws” have been on the warpath too.

Last week, a couple in Idaho, both ordained ministers, were threatened with jail time and fines for refusing to perform a same-sex wedding ceremony.

In July in upstate New York, another couple was hit with a discrimination suit and stiff fines for declining to allow a lesbian couple to rent their family farm for their same-sex wedding.

And in Texas just this month, the mayor of Houston demanded pastors turn over any sermons related to “the topics of equal rights, civil rights, homosexuality, or gender identity.”  She backtracked just days later after a large public outcry to say pastors could keep their sermons but they would need to hand over any speeches and presentations they’ve given related to the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance–the law that kicked off the whole debate and is opposed by many pastors and others who believe it allows men to use women’s bathrooms and vice versa.

Is the next step for those who oppose religious liberty to try to inspect religious schools?

Don’t dismiss that as crazy–it’s already happening in the United Kingdom..

In the name of tolerance, religious schools (to date, Christian and Jewish schools) in the UK are being “inspected” and in the case of one school, “downgraded,” for violating new education department guidelines the government there refers to as “British values.”

A government spokesman described the goal of such inspections as “ensuring that schools provide a broad and balanced education for their pupils” and that inspectors are there to evaluate “the effectiveness of the school’s provision for pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and how the school’s leadership and management ensure that the curriculum actively promotes British values.”

Never mind that the concern about what values their children are being taught is one of the main reasons parents choose to send their children to a religious school, instead of a government-run one, in the first place. In the UK, as is often the case here, the government thinks it knows better.

According to an article in The Telegraph, orthodox Jewish schools have filed complaints that its female students “from strict traditional backgrounds were allegedly asked whether they were being taught enough about lesbianism, whether they had boyfriends and if they knew where babies came from.”

At least one Christian school has been downgraded from a “good” school to an “adequate” school because it would not invite a leader of another religion, such as an imam, to lead its assembly.

You see, teaching about other cultures and other religions is apparently no longer enough–you must fully accept them.  And as we’re seeing with the issue of same-sex marriage in this country, acceptance no longer means live and let live, the “tolerance” police want you to embrace and endorse.

Is religious freedom our most important right?  Without question, promoting and defending it is one of our most important battles.

New Mortgage Rule Exempts Everyone from the Rule - Daily Signal

New Mortgage Rule Exempts Everyone from the Rule

David Inserra / Riley Walters / Philip Wegmann / Josh Shepherd / Kelsey Harris / Melissa Quinn / Hans von Spakovsky / Genevieve Wood / Norbert Michel /

Federal regulators have finalized a new risk-retention rule, a process mandated by the 2010 Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Title IX of Dodd–Frank requires all mortgage securitizers—any firm that packages and sells mortgages into mortgage-backed securities (MBS)—to retain a 5 percent credit risk in the underlying mortgages.

The logic behind the rule is that it will protect investors because it forces companies to keep “skin in the game” when they sell mortgages. Put differently, the rule provides securitizers with an incentive to package only high-quality mortgages into MBS because they can lose money on the underlying mortgages. This type of loss was not possible under the old framework. But one of the main reasons private markets evolved this way was due to the operations of the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Critics argue that the GSEs merely followed the private market’s lead in taking on risky mortgages, but it’s clear that private-label securitization increased in lockstep with GSE purchases of private-label MBS. From 2003 to 2004, for example, the GSEs purchased approximately 40 percent of all the new MBS issued by private firms.

There was little need for private firms to develop stricter standards because they had two guaranteed buyers, the GSEs. Had we allowed private markets to accept their own financial risks, then they most likely would have adequately accounted for that risk.

That’s not to say private investors never make mistakes, but carelessly taking on too much risk is not the way most successful investors operate. On the other hand, when investors know they have government protection against losses, they’re less likely to pay as much attention to risks.

So in a system with taxpayer-backed MBS, it does make sense to have a risk-retention rule. If structured properly, the rule could provide much needed taxpayer protection.

Former Representative Barney Frank (D–MA), a coauthor of Dodd–Frank, probably understood this relationship when he referred to the new risk-retention rule as “the single biggest thing in the law.”

To the extent that Frank was right, the second biggest item is the law’s exemption for the risk-retention rule. Dodd–Frank requires securitizers to retain a 5 percent credit risk in all the mortgages they sell, except for those loans that qualify for an exemption.

The new rule is nearly 600 pages, and there are many other details (and problems), but the only thing that really matters for now is this exemption. Specifically, any loans sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac are exempt from the rule. This fact alone means that virtually all new mortgages in the U.S. are exempt from the risk-retention rule.

At best, this exemption highlights that federal officials are more concerned with mortgage volume rather than the mortgage market’s safety and soundness. At worse, the exemption is gross negligence. Either way, the rule can’t possibly help protect taxpayers because virtually all new mortgages are exempt from the rule.

Securities and Exchange Commissioner Daniel Gallagher, who dissented from the SEC’s decision to adopt the rule, rhetorically asked, “What is the point of promulgating a risk retention standard and then exempting everything from it?” That’s a great question.

An even better question is: What’s the best way to protect taxpayers from MBS losses?

The best way to protect taxpayers is to stop forcing them to bear these risks in the first place by shutting down the GSE system.

Sugar Is Evil and Other Silly Claims in the Obesity Wars - Daily Signal

Sugar Is Evil and Other Silly Claims in the Obesity Wars

David Inserra / Riley Walters / Philip Wegmann / Josh Shepherd / Kelsey Harris / Melissa Quinn / Hans von Spakovsky / Genevieve Wood / Norbert Michel / Ericka Andersen /

Don’t go blaming willpower for the obesity epidemic–that’d be a “crime” according to the documentary “Fed Up,” by the producer of “An Inconvenient Truth” Laurie David and hosted by Katie Couric.

The film, whose tagline is “the film the food industry doesn’t want you to see,” presents sugar as a harmful, addictive drug and dismisses exercise as a vital component of weight loss.

“The message has been pushed on us–it’s your fault you’re fat,” says Dr. Mark Hyman in the trailer, following up with, “forget about it.”

And that’s what the 2014 film, at least on the basis of the trailer, aims to do: remove the blame from individuals and place it squarely on the shoulders of “junk food” producers.

An aggressive agenda against the sugar industry is at the heart of the film, subtly lambasting Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign as well for its focus on exercise as a solution to obesity.

According to David, there “aren’t enough hours in the day” to use exercise as the cure for obesity.

While the film claims to unveil shocking revelations about sugar, the trailer showed nothing I haven’t read in a women’s fitness magazine every month for the past ten years.  Soda is full of added sugar, supermarkets are stocked with high-calorie cereal arranged at kid-level eyesight and would you believe the sugar industry is in business–big shocker–to make money?!

How radical for a business.

What the film doesn’t appear to address enough is educating Americans about the right foods so they can make better decisions themselves–and not just wait for government intervention or an overhaul of the free market food production system.

Grocery stores aren’t only stocked with Frosted Flakes and potato chips. Stop by the produce section sometime.  They’ve never stopped selling apples, spinach, cucumbers or grapefruit–I promise.

A featured speaker in the film, Gary Taubes, claims the country is “blaming willpower” (or lack thereof) for our mass entrance into obesity–and that’s wrong, according to him. But that personal responsibility is part of the package, no matter what way you look at it.

Fed Up's Twitter account, @FedUpMovie, tweeted this photo out June 20.

Fed Up’s Twitter account, @FedUpMovie, tweeted this photo out June 20.

Instead of trying to force people to make good choices by eliminating “bad” food, people should learn how food affects them so they want to make better choices for themselves. And when it comes to children, parents are the ones responsible for ensuring their children aren’t eating foods in substance or quantity that will lead to obesity.

“Years from now, we’re going to say, I can’t believe we let them get away with that,” says author Mark Bittman of the evil “junk food” industry.

But he’s wrong.

If the sugar industry is wreaking havoc on your life, you have only yourself to blame. Fast food restaurants, airports and convenience stores stock healthy options everywhere now. We have more options than ever before to feed ourselves fairly cheaply with healthy foods at every turn.

The demand for diet, exercise and nutritional education, as seen by the massive diet and exercise industry, is huge. We must respect individual dietary choices whether we like them or not.

If Laurie David and friends or anyone wants to help end obesity, they should focus on education, not elimination of junk food.

Judge Sides With IRS, Dismisses Lawsuits by Conservative Groups Over Targeting Scandal - Daily Signal

Judge Sides With IRS, Dismisses Lawsuits by Conservative Groups Over Targeting Scandal

David Inserra / Riley Walters / Philip Wegmann / Josh Shepherd / Kelsey Harris / Melissa Quinn / Hans von Spakovsky / Genevieve Wood / Norbert Michel / Ericka Andersen / Melissa Quinn /

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., sided today with the Internal Revenue Service and dismissed lawsuits by tea party organizations seeking redress for improper delays and scrutiny of their applications for tax-exempt status.

District Judge Reggie B. Walton ruled that two lawsuits by True the Vote and Linchpins of Liberty, along with 41 other conservative organizations, were moot because the IRS took steps to address the scandal and “publicly suspended its targeting scheme.”’

“It’s a disappointing ruling because it basically leaves targets of bad behavior by the IRS without a remedy,” Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal.

A federal judge sided with the IRS today and dismissed the case filed by conservative groups targeted by the tax agency.

>>> Commentary: The Wrongdoers at the IRS Get Away With It

Walton, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, decided that because the organizations eventually won tax-exempt status, they had remedied any wrongdoing. (His two rulings are below.)

“We are stunned by today’s judgment,” True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht said. “The notion that the IRS can target Americans for years because of their political beliefs is reprehensible.”

“The notion that the IRS can target Americans for years because of their political beliefs is reprehensible.”–@TrueTheVote founder Catherine Engelbrecht

Engelbrecht also told The Daily Signal:

The court acknowledges in its opinion that the IRS did in fact target True the Vote for our perceived political beliefs, but then it holds that neither the agency nor the individual IRS agents or officers are responsible for this unconstitutional conduct. Right now, we are considering all legal options and will announce our next steps very soon.

>>> Commentary: Politico Found Lois Lerner. So Why Can’t the U.S. Attorney in Washington?

True the Vote and Linchpins of Liberty filed suit on the grounds that IRS officials improperly held up their tax-exempt status for several years.

Texas-based True the Vote, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that seeks to stop voter fraud, waited three years before the IRS awarded it tax-exempt status. It first applied in 2010 and received word in 2013.

Tennessee-based Linchpins of Liberty was created to mentor high school and college students in the continuing relevance of America’s founding principles. The IRS delayed the group’s application for 501(c)3 tax-exempt status for nearly three years, founder Kevin Kookogey recalled in an on-camera interview early this year.

“The court appears to believe that tossing a life-preserver to a swimmer who has already drowned can magically revive the dead.”–Linchpins of Liberty founder Kevin Kookogey

“Obviously, this ruling is stunning, and we intend to appeal,” Kookogey told The Daily Signal today, adding:

The court appears to believe that tossing a life-preserver to a swimmer who has already drowned can magically revive the dead, or that the government’s promise not to hurt anyone in the future releases it from liability for past harms.

Although True the Vote, Linchpins of Liberty and more than three dozen other groups argued there is no guarantee the IRS would not target conservative groups again, Walton ruled that the “prospect of future harm is speculative.”

Von Spakovsky, the Heritage legal fellow, disagreed.

“Given the unapologetic behavior of Lois Lerner and other IRS officials, and their total lack of remorse, I don’t think it’s ‘speculative’ that this could happen again in the future,” he said.

>>> No Apologies: Lois Lerner Breaks 16-Month Silence on IRS Scandal

Kookogey said he was baffled by the judge’s logic.

“My constitutional rights were violated at the moment the IRS first began to unlawfully obstruct and delay my application for tax-exempt status back in 2011,” Kookogey said. “Granting my status three years later — after we filed the complaint and moments before the government was required to file an answer — does not undo that harm or render our claims moot.”

Walton also refused to grant a request from True the Vote to require Lerner and other IRS officials to pay a fine for delaying the group’s tax-exempt status and subjecting it to additional scrutiny.

Lerner was the head of the IRS division that oversaw tax-exempt organizations. She resigned last year and twice has refused to testify before Congress.

Although the groups filed suit before they were granted tax-exempt status, Walton cited a remedy in place from Congress that called for organizations seeking such status to go to court for it. That provision, he said, should have been used.

In addressing True the Vote’s request, Walton said because the IRS eventually granted it tax-exempt status, the group no longer had grounds for the case.

>>> Commentary: More Evidence of Lois Lerner’s Liberal Bias

Kookogey, a Nashville lawyer, told The Daily Signal that Linchpins of Liberty  lost a $30,000 grant, a significant part of his own business and opportunities to mentor students because of the IRS’ actions. The agency’s delay in granting tax-exempt status also prevented Kookogey from fundraising and building the organization, he said:

 If this ruling is permitted to stand, it will embolden a government which has already exceeded its limits to believe that it can violate the natural rights of its citizens until caught, at which point it must only apologize, ‘fix’ the problem, and move on to the next victim.

During Lerner’s  tenure, conservative and tea party groups such as True the Vote waited years for the IRS to rule on their applications. The IRS targeting scandal prompted more than a dozen hearings by congressional investigators.

Congress learned this summer that emails Lerner sent during the time of the targeting had vanished because a computer drive crashed.

  True the Vote v. IRS Ruling by The Heritage Foundation

  Linchpins of Liberty v. IRS by The Heritage Foundation