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

Melissa Quinn /

It’s been one year since Lois Lerner officially retired from the Internal Revenue Service amid accusations that the tax agency improperly had targeted tea party and other conservative groups. Now, Lerner is speaking out and offering no apologies for her role in the scandal.

“I didn’t do anything wrong,” Lerner told Politico, echoing the few words she uttered to a congressional panel investigating the targeting. “I’m proud of my career and the job I did for this country.”

Breaking her silence in the news media since the story of the IRS’s aggressive scrutiny of conservative groups broke more than a year ago, Lerner defended her tenure.

“Regardless of whatever else happens, I know I did the best I could under the circumstances and am not sorry for anything I did,” she told Politico.

“…I did the best I could under the circumstances and am not sorry for anything I did,” former IRS official Lois Lerner tells Politico.

While she was head of the IRS division overseeing tax exempt organizations, right-leaning groups were forced to answer invasive questions on applications and waited years before receiving action on their request for tax exempt status. That unusual scrutiny that prompted dozens of congressional hearings and an ongoing investigation into whether Lerner was operating on her own or under orders from the White House.

>>> In Depth: Why Americans Should Be Concerned About the IRS and Political Bias

Lerner began working at the IRS in 2001 after  20 years at the Federal Election Commission. She had limited knowledge of tax law and IRS operations.

“Her fuse was short, and if you come to the IRS, you better be able to sit and listen and ask questions and absorb and rethink,” Debra Kawecki, an attorney who worked with Lerner until 2006, told Politico. “And she had a hard time doing that.”

In 2006, Lerner took over the tax exempt organizations division.

Following the landmark Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court upholding independent political activity as free speech, she expressed skepticism.

In several emails, Lerner supported legislation by Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., to require more disclosure from political groups receiving tax exempt status. Similarly, she commended the writer of a June 2012 email about how states created their own disclosure rules in the wake of the Citizens United decision.

“You done good!” Lerner wrote. “Now, if you can only fix the darn law!”

Lerner, though, contended in the Politico interview that she is  “not a political person” and said she has a history of supporting candidates across the political spectrum.

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

Larry Noble, Lerner’s former boss at the FEC, agreed and said she was “never partisan.”

However, FEC Commissioner Lee Ann Elliott and Craig Engle, who worked with Lerner at the FEC, said ideology affected her work.

“Lois’ ideology is against money in politics, is ‘anti-contribution;’ that’s her bias,” Engle told Politico. “Her ideology inhibited fair administration of the law.”

On May 22, 2013,  Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. According to Politico, the IRS placed her on indefinite administrative leave.

Former IRS official Lois Lerner pled the Fifth before Congress. Now, she’s breaking her silence to the media.

Lerner officially retired in September 2013 and now receives a $100,000 annual pension, Politico reported.

Last March, Lerner pleaded the Fifth once more before the House Oversight Committee. Afterward, the entire House voted to hold her in contempt of Congress..

Congressional investigators have released emails from Lerner in which she refers to conservatives as “crazies” in addition to a vulgar anatomical term.

Lerner and husband Michael Miles, a lawyer, said such messages were taken out of context.

>>> Commentary: The Latest Clue That the Justice Department Investigation of the IRS Scandal is a Sham

The bulk of Lerner’s emails sent between 2009 and 2011 — the period when conservative groups were targeted — were reported lost after what the IRS said was a computer crash three years ago. The agency only told lawmakers of the crash in June.

Some House Republicans and other critics contend the IRS tried to cover up the contents of the emails. Lerner, though, rebuffed the idea that she crashed her own computer.

“How would I know two years ahead of time that it would be important for me to destroy emails,” she said, “and if I did know that, why wouldn’t I have destroyed the other ones they keep releasing?”

Several emails obtained by congressional investigators show Lerner became aware that tea party groups faced additional scrutiny in 2010 and attempted to correct the agency’s “be on the lookout” criteria when she found out about it in 2011. IRS employees, Politico reported, continued the practice.

Some congressional Republicans have called for the appointment of a special prosecutor. Lerner’s allies, though, call her a scapegoat.

Former IRS official Lois Lerner on IRS targeting scandal: “I didn’t do anything wrong.”

>>> Exclusive: Liberal Senator Preparing Report That Dismisses Allegations of IRS’ Tea Party Targeting

“You could take her out of there and just stand in a different person, and no matter who it is, we would have the same result,” Karen Gries, a tax lawyer who previously worked with Lerner, told Politico. “I don’t believe this is reflective of Lois the individual or Lois the professional.”

Lerner told Politico she struggles to find employment and has received a multitude of hate mail and death threats. Federal agents were called to protect her at home following one threat. Her two daughters and mother-in-law also received “hate calls.”

Lerner staunchly told Politico that the public was hearing only one side of the story. Asked if “she could tell the world anything,” she said:

And, oh, one more thing — I’m doing just fine.

51 Cents of Every Dollar: How Much Americans Think the Government Wastes - Daily Signal

51 Cents of Every Dollar: How Much Americans Think the Government Wastes

Melissa Quinn / Romina Boccia /

Americans estimate that Washington wastes 51 cents of every dollar it spends, according to a Gallup poll released last week.

The timing could not have been more appropriate. The poll was released just days before Congress and the president agreed on  a stopgap spending measure to fund federal government programs and agencies indiscriminately at the annualized rate of $1.1 trillion. This year’s figure is tied for the highest since Gallup began asking the question in 1979. The 2011 survey, conducted after the $800 billion stimulus bill was enacted, also registered 51 percent.  Except for a low point of 38 percent during Ronald Reagan’s presidency, American perception of government waste has gone the same direction as the size of the federal budget—up. galluppollwaste Americans’ estimate of how much the federal government wastes is likely more an expression of a general discontent with operations in Washington than the result of a budget ledger review. Americans are right that government waste goes beyond obvious inefficiency, mismanagement and fraud, and even beyond such boondoggles as the bridge to nowhere or the infamous RoboSquirrel. Economists think of waste as the misallocation of resources from higher-valued activities to lower-valued ones. Waste comes in many sizes and shapes, such as spending on projects that cost more than the benefits they create, or federal funding for functions that are better performed by the private sector or by state and local governments. Last week’s congressional stopgap measure (continuing resolution) funded several wasteful provisions, by extending funding for the 1,582-page omnibus spending bill Congress had passed in January, which included handouts to the energy industry, funding for purely local projects and continued obsolete rural programs. And yet, annual congressional spending bills deal only with about one-third of the federal budget. The remaining two-thirds consist of mandatory spending on health care, retirement, welfare and interest on the debt. Of the more than $100 billion in officially estimated improper payments in 2013, parts of Medicare and Medicaid were among the largest contributors, according to the Government Accountability Office. Medicare and Medicaid reforms should be a top priority for the next Congress. Moreover, a specifically dedicated waste commission could step in where Congress has fallen behind in its oversight responsibilities, consolidating duplicative programs and eliminating inappropriate spending and waste. Ultimately, though, reducing government waste requires reducing the size and scope of government activity. Congress has its work cut out for it.

‘Jesus Loves You All!’ College Students Respond to Angry Preacher - Daily Signal

‘Jesus Loves You All!’ College Students Respond to Angry Preacher

Melissa Quinn / Romina Boccia / Kate Scanlon /

A preacher spoke at James Madison University, telling students they were “going straight to hell” and that there was no possibility of redemption.

But instead of responding with anger, students began to sing the hymn “How He Loves Us.”

When they finished, the student playing the guitar yelled “Jesus loves you all!” to the crowd.

In Depth: Why Americans Should Be Concerned About the IRS and Political Bias - Daily Signal

In Depth: Why Americans Should Be Concerned About the IRS and Political Bias

Melissa Quinn / Romina Boccia / Kate Scanlon / Genevieve Wood / Hans von Spakovsky /

Daily Signal’s Genevieve Wood talks to Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer representing many of the groups targeted by the IRS, and Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, about the IRS and Justice Department’s stonewalling — and what can be done.

Conservatives Decry Obamacare’s Hidden Abortion Coverage - Daily Signal

Conservatives Decry Obamacare’s Hidden Abortion Coverage

Melissa Quinn / Romina Boccia / Kate Scanlon / Genevieve Wood / Hans von Spakovsky / Kelsey Harkness /

Conservatives in Congress are taking President Obama to task for breaking a promise to Americans, if not outright lying, that taxpayers’ money won’t pay for abortions under Obamacare.

“Clearly, in this case, the administration lied to the American people,” Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kansas, said Thursday during  Conversations with Conservatives, a group of free market and liberty-minded House members who meet each month with reporters.

In 2009, promoting the Affordable Care Act to Congress and the American public,  President Obama pointedly said: “No federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.”

But after a new report from the Government Accountability Office showed that assertion to be wrong, conservatives weren’t shy in calling out Obama.

“In my opinion, the president and [former Health and Human Services Secretary] Kathleen Sebelius knew full well that Obamacare plans would be funding abortion,” Huelskamp said.


Infographic: Kelsey Harris

In addition to finding that taxpayer money does, in fact, go to fund insurance plans that cover elective abortions, the GAO report shows that under Obamacare it is extremely difficult for consumers to figure out which plans do not cover abortions in the first place.

“The GAO report shows that Obamacare is hiding the ball when it comes to abortion coverage,” said Sarah Torre, a policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation who closely follows developments on Obamacare and abortion.

Torre said:

Americans who would otherwise object to paying for abortion coverage may not even be aware that they’re signing up for a plan that includes elective abortion. They often have to dig through a summary of benefits materials, pore over insurers’ websites, or call insurers directly, hoping to find an answer. In some cases, as insurers admitted to the GAO, individuals might not know their plan covers elective abortion until they’re already enrolled.

>>> Commentary:  How Obamacare Forces You to Subsidize Plans That Cover Elective Abortions

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, calls for ‘certainty.’ (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio,  also among those attending Conversations With Conservatives, said: “Most Americans don’t want their tax dollars used for this, and we need to make sure that they can plainly see that.”

Americans, Jordan told The Daily Signal later, should “know with certainty that their tax dollars aren’t being used to take the lives of the unborn.”

Jordan, who sits on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is a co-sponsor of H.R. 7, the No Taxpayer Funding Abortion Act. It would ensure that no federal funds could be used to pay for abortion or health benefit plans that cover abortion, including those offered through Obamacare insurance exchanges.

>>> Flashback: Obama Promises ‘No Federal Dollars Will Be Used to Fund Abortions’

In recent days, Jordan and other pro-life House conservatives pressed the Senate to pass versions of H.R. 7 and another bill (H.R. 3279). The second bill would amend Obamacare to require insurance issuers that include elective abortion coverage on exchange plans to prominently display that fact in marketing and enrollment materials.

The new GAO report also “highlights and underscores the problems with Obamacare in general,” Jordan said.

“We’ve had this for a year—we’ve had so many sections of it waived, it’s why this law [the Affordable Care Act] needs to go away.”

Rep. Raúl Labrador, R-Idaho, had his own sarcastic take on Obama’s 2009 pledge.

“Obama lie about Obamacare?” he asked at the lawmakers’ gathering with reporters. “That would have never happened, I’m sorry.”

Dem Rep.: Congress ‘Abdicating’ Constitutional Power by Leaving D.C. Without Authorizing War - Daily Signal

Dem Rep.: Congress ‘Abdicating’ Constitutional Power by Leaving D.C. Without Authorizing War

Melissa Quinn / Romina Boccia / Kate Scanlon / Genevieve Wood / Hans von Spakovsky / Kelsey Harkness / Melissa Quinn /

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., today said Congress is “absolutely” abdicating its constitutional power to declare war by leaving Washington, D.C., without authorizing war in either Iraq or Syria.

Appearing on “Fox News Sunday” with host Chris Wallace, Schiff criticized the legislative body for relying on an authorization of military force from 2001, which has been the Obama administration’s justification for involvement in the two Middle Eastern countries as part of its plan to combat ISIS, the brutal terrorist group also known as the Islamic State and ISIL.

The California Democrat noted that the power to declare war is solely designated to Congress and said the body is “abdicating our responsibility.” Schiff also criticized the Obama administration for using the 2001 AUMF and said it’s a “different conflict against a different enemy at a different time.”

At President Obama’s behest, lawmakers voted to approve $500 million in funding to arm and train Syrian rebels late last week. Congress then recessed until after the midterm elections in November.

In the lead-up to the vote on the funding, Schiff, as well as both Democrats and Republicans, expressed skepticism toward fulfilling the president’s request.

“It’s an abdication of constitutional dimension,” he told Wallace.

>>> For Lawmakers, an ‘Agonizing’ Decision on How to Confront ISIS

Tony Blair: Obama Is ‘Absolutely Right’ With Plan to Defeat ISIS - Daily Signal

Tony Blair: Obama Is ‘Absolutely Right’ With Plan to Defeat ISIS

Melissa Quinn / Romina Boccia / Kate Scanlon / Genevieve Wood / Hans von Spakovsky / Kelsey Harkness / Melissa Quinn / Melissa Quinn /

Former United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair commended President Obama for his strategy to defeat ISIS, but noted that over time, there may be a need for combat troops on the ground in Iraq.

While appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” today, the former UK prime minister said Obama is “absolutely right” with his four-pronged plan to defeat ISIS, the brutal terrorist group also known as the Islamic State and ISIL.

Blair served as prime minister of the United Kingdom during both President Bill Clinton and George W. Bush’s administration.

Since delivering an address to the nation on Sept. 10, Obama, along with Secretary of State John Kerry, have assembled a coalition of 50 countries to aid in “degrading and destroying” ISIS. The president has adamantly said he would not put U.S. combat troops on the ground in Iraq.

Blair, however, said over time there may be a need for boots on the ground, whether it’s the troops of regional allies or the United States and United Kingdom.

I think there will end up being a need over time to hit [ISIS] in an aerial campaign as well as on the ground,” Blair said.

>>> Q&A: Meet Khorasan, the Terrorist Group That Might Be Scarier Than ISIS

What Obama Could Learn From George W. Bush About War - Daily Signal

What Obama Could Learn From George W. Bush About War

Melissa Quinn / Romina Boccia / Kate Scanlon / Genevieve Wood / Hans von Spakovsky / Kelsey Harkness / Melissa Quinn / Melissa Quinn / James Carafano /

Replaying the video of President Bush’s 2007 warning against a premature withdrawal U.S. troops from Iraq is all the rage. Millions of Americans have “gone to the tape.”

But, unlike a referee’s decision in an NFL game, President Obama’s blown call on this question can’t be reversed. There are no do-overs in war.

Still, Bush’s comments are more than a touchstone of thoughts about what might have been. They are worth reflecting upon, for they remind us of what’s important in crafting a war-winning strategy.

Bush’s points are based on much long, hard thinking by him and his staff.  That type of effort, apparently missing in this White House (given the spate of contradictory threat assessments regarding ISIS in just the last week), needs to be made once again as America contemplates the next campaign in this long war.

Bush’s declaration is a reminder that perfection isn’t the measure of what makes a good commander-in-chief. Everybody makes misjudgments and mistakes in war.

George Washington lost many battles before winning the war at Yorktown. FDR flinched at terrible setbacks from Pearl Harbor, Tarawa and the Kasserine Pass on through the Battle of the Bulge and Operation Market Garden. Truman had his Task Force Smith.

Bush recognized a key fact of war: the enemy gets a vote. Consequently, he realized that even the most successful surge would produce a fragile peace.

Setbacks happen.

Strong war leaders look forward, not backward. They focus on the mission ahead. Bush wasn’t worried about plummeting popularity, Code Pink, angry democrats or an upset base.  He was looking ahead and prepared to do the tough tasks that had to be done–even though they were hard and an unpopular–because they were what was needed to get the job done.

Since the disaster in Benghazi, Obama’s instincts have been exactly the opposite. The bold leader who engineered the take-down of Qaddafi has become doggedly risk averse. His preferred course action veers toward the option that requires the least commitment and will produce the least criticism.

Bush also recognized a key fact of war: the enemy gets a vote. Consequently, he realized that even the most successful surge would produce a fragile peace.  Sectarian conflict could erupt at any time. Al Qaeda or its affiliates might make a comeback.  Iran could not be trusted.

So, he rightly reasoned, there needed to be an insurance policy against any of these contingencies. U.S. troops, even if they were fighting no one, provided a hedge against future sectarian struggles, resurgent terrorist campaigns or outside invasion.

Photo: AFP/Ahmad Al-Rubaye/Newscom

Photo: AFP/Ahmad Al-Rubaye/Newscom

Yet  Obama let Iraq’s safety net slip away. Worse, there was no “plan B” addressing what to do if chaos returned to Iraq.

Our president treats national security as a series of discrete tasks to be accomplished, like homework.  All too often, he appear to forgot the lessons of that homework once it’s handed in. Foreign policy and national security are not problems to solve, but a constant competition of action and counteraction.

Finally, Bush’s comments demonstrated how he had matured as a strategic leader.  The Bush of 9/11 was not the Bush of 2008.  His administration made major misjudgments in the run-up to and the aftermath of the Iraq. But, Bush changed and grew as a strategic leader. As the war got worse, he became more self-confident and proactive.

In contrast, Obama entered the Oval Office with a predictable, incremental and minimalist approach to force and diplomacy. He hasn’t changed.

He has not evolved as a strategic leader. Indeed, his “strategy” speech on dealing with ISIS can pretty much be summed-up as: “We are going to keep doing pretty much what we’ve been doing the last four years.” That makes no sense. The global terrorism threat has rebounded since 2010. Yet  Obama remains mired in the same, demonstrably inadequate mindset.

It is not important to have policymakers debate who was right, who was wrong, how we got here, and who’s at fault. Leave that discussion to the historians.

It’s far more important for policymakers to concentrate on the here-and-now and the future.  They need to understand the world as it is—then figure out what needs to be done and put things right. A sense of history is helpful; replaying history in your head over and over again–not so much.

Instead of spending so much energy and effort explaining why the Obama way of war is so much different and smarter than the Bush way of war, the president should invest his energies in winning the war to be won.

Sorry, Unions: Franchises Are Real Small Businesses, Too - Daily Signal

Sorry, Unions: Franchises Are Real Small Businesses, Too

Melissa Quinn / Romina Boccia / Kate Scanlon / Genevieve Wood / Hans von Spakovsky / Kelsey Harkness / Melissa Quinn / Melissa Quinn / James Carafano / Stephen Moore /

If the Obama Administration has its way, Ronald McDonald may soon have to wipe that grin off his face as he stands beneath the Golden Arches. One of the most successful models for expanding small-business ownership in America is under full-scale attack from unions and the White House.

The political strategy is to fundamentally change the legal relationship between locally owned stores like McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD), Popeyes (NASDAQ:PLKI), Taco Bell (NYSE:YUM) and their multibillion-dollar parent companies.

No longer would franchisees be legally classified as independent contractors to the parent company. The left wants the employees of each of the hundreds of thousands of independently owned franchise restaurants, hotels, retail stores and others to be considered jointly employed by both the independent franchisee and parent.

This change would overturn a 30-year legal precedent for how the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) deals with franchisees.

As of now, entrepreneurs can purchase and run their own stores. Likewise, the parent company is sheltered from legal risks associated with the actions on the part of the independent franchisees. Furthermore, regulations such as ObamaCare that apply to large businesses do not affect smaller franchise operations.

With this change, parent companies with deep pockets could also be targets for shakedowns and lawsuits any time that there’s a grievance with a locally operated store.

Legal experts worry that the franchising model could become extinct. The stakes are huge because by the end of this year, the more than 770,000 of these independently owned franchise stores nationwide are expected to employ more than 8 million workers.

More than 31,000 automotive businesses, more than 155,000 fast-food restaurants and nearly 90,000 real estate businesses are part of this model.

The first serious assault against franchising came in June, when the city of Seattle, at the urging of the Service Employees International Union, enacted a $15-an-hour minimum-wage law applying to businesses with more than 500 employees.

The catch here is that the law applies to franchise businesses if the parent company and all its stores employ more than 500 workers. So a local Wendy’s (NASDAQ:WEN) restaurant with only 20 or 30 employees is considered a big business.

Venture capitalist Nick Hanauer, a member of the mayor’s minimum-wage committee, explained the reasoning in an email: “The truth is that franchises like Subway and McDonald’s really are not very good for our local economy.”

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

He blasted franchise agreements as “economically extractive, civically corrosive and culturally dilutive.”

Then in July, the franchise model took another hit when the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel ruled that McDonald’s. can be held legally liable for labor violations because the parent company is a “joint employer” in all its thousands of stores. If this rule, now under legal challenge, were to stand, it would have huge consequences. The parent company could be liable if a McDonald’s store in, say, Rockford, Ill., violated overtime pay or workplace discrimination laws.

For the trial bar, this could be a godsend. The Erbe Law Firm in Iowa, which follows this issue closely, reports that “since November 2012, 181 complaints have been filed against McDonald’s with the NLRB.”

“Seattle’s new minimum-wage law unconstitutionally discriminates against franchisees by categorizing them as big businesses even when they are small and independently owned.”

The charges claim that McDonald’s franchisees and McDonald’s U.S.A. violated the rights of employees as a result of activities surrounding employee protests. The charges mostly have to do with the minimum-wage rallies organized by local unions.

Meanwhile, the industry is fighting back in court with a request for an injunction against the Seattle law.

Paul D. Clements, a former U.S. solicitor general now representing the industry in this lawsuit, stated: “Seattle’s new minimum-wage law unconstitutionally discriminates against franchisees by categorizing them as big businesses even when they are small and independently owned.” He calls the law “an unfair attack on small business owners who happen to be franchisees.”

Businesses claim that Seattle’s law violates the Constitution’s interstate commerce clause because it imposes higher costs on stores in Seattle that have out-of-state parent companies. The giant worry is that Seattle’s law could become a standard in other cities. It’s also challenging the NLRB ruling on joint ownership.

“The NLRB appears willing to ignore decades of settled law in order to expand franchisor liability,” complains American Tort Reform Association spokesman Darren McKinney. These changes, he says, create another opportunity “for the parasitic plaintiffs’ bar to pick deep corporate pockets of brand-name companies.”

An added concern is that the NLRB ruling may require fast-food companies to take on the near-impossible task of regulating and monitoring the hiring practices of its thousands of franchisees.

Catherine Monson, CEO of Fastsigns International and a member of the International Franchise Association (IFA) board of directors, warns that the NLRB ruling makes no economic or legal sense because “the franchisor plays no role in hiring, firing or directing the franchisee’s employees.”

The industry believes that if the unions and NLRB win in court, the ObamaCare employer mandate law requiring firms with more than 50 employees to provide health insurance could now be applied to nearly every fast-food and hotel chain in America. By some estimates, this requirement could cut franchise store profits by as much as half.

This fight is sold as an attack against billion-dollar-plus corporate chains like McDonald’s and Burger King (NYSE:BKW). But the IFA notes that most small fast-food stores have razor-thin profit margins. The average store turns an annual profit of $50,000 to $100,000 on sales of $2 million to $3 million. Some multiple-franchise owners get rich, but most do not. Tens of thousands are minority-owned.

“The franchise relationship is a win-win for everyone,” says IFA President Stephen Caldeira.”It helps entrepreneurs by allowing them to own their own stores, it helps consumers by holding prices down, and it helps the economy because these stores employ millions of American workers.”

Caldeira is confident that the courts will rule in favor of established franchise law. But these days, with the courts packed with Obama-appointed judges, there are no sure things.

Originally appeared on

Charities Taking Care of Unaccompanied Minors Getting Significant Federal Grants - Daily Signal

Charities Taking Care of Unaccompanied Minors Getting Significant Federal Grants

Melissa Quinn / Romina Boccia / Kate Scanlon / Genevieve Wood / Hans von Spakovsky / Kelsey Harkness / Melissa Quinn / Melissa Quinn / James Carafano / Stephen Moore / Marianela Toledo /

MIAMI — Florida nonprofits have taken in more than 3,000 unaccompanied minors from Central America who illegally crossed the southern border, but those organizations are being paid handsomely by taxpayers for doing so.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Tracking Accountability in Government Grants System, or TAGGS, reports Florida nonprofits have received $21 million thus far in 2014 to care for the children who came in with a wave of illegals earlier this year.

His House Children’s Home in Miami, a nonprofit providing residential care for abused, abandoned and neglected children, received about $10 million, nearly double what it got last year.

Catholics Charities of the Archdiocese of Miami received more than $4.3 million to care for 300 border children. Millions more went to The Gulf Coast Jewish Family Services Inc. in Pinellas County, Neighbor to Family in Volusia County, Sandy Pines Hospital in Palm Beach County and The Children’s Home Inc. in Hillsborough. For many of those groups, it was the first time they received federal grant money.

The Department of Health and Human Services is required by law to care for unaccompanied immigrant children when there is no parent or legal guardian in the United States.

The federal grants are meant to cover costs for temporary housing, medical care and support services.

But details of exactly how the money is being spent haven’t been easy to come by.

Several, including Catholic Charities, referred questions to the Department of Justice saying “As determined by ORR’s (Office of Refugee and Resettlement) policy, all media requests for any information regarding unaccompanied minors/programs et al in these facilities must be cleared by DOJ,” spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta said in an email.

Others didn’t respond.

Most of the money comes from the “Unaccompanied Alien Children Program,” a program managed by the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families and the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

The Office of Management and Budget, said this fiscal year’s budget is $1.4 billion, and next year’s is $2.28 billion.