Thursday, 23 May 2013 19:17

Louisiana GOP audit IRS-Obama blame game insults party members

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lagop logo new 600 stripesHas the Louisiana Republican Party’s executive committee’s claim of government intrusion into its financial records, a grenade that is exploding in its own hands?


 On Wednesday, it sent out an email claiming an Obama administration IRS-like invasion into their political organization because it is “conservative” and against taxes.

When the Louisiana Republican party Executive Director complained in that e-missive to “interested parties” that it was being victimized via a legislative audit linking it to the type of  the recent scandal rocking the nation and the Obama administration, even the most non-political minds would wonder, OMG.

In reality,  the LAGOP’s action has only given heavy ammunition to the argument of those who contend that  conservatives and media organizations are hyperventilating over IRSgate due to political expediency, not  because it  is truly outraged.   

Here are my facts, at least from my vantage point.

Yesterday afternoon, I received the LAGOP’s email  and published an article documenting the GOP complaints.   Considering the nasty controversy between the Jindal administration, the Louisiana GOP versus the republican fiscal hawks fight that erupted over the budget in recent weeks,  I wondered out loud in the article whether the GOP leadership was blaming the hawks.  My suspicion was supported by the fact that the GOP email specifically cited the party’s pro-Jindal position on the budget against that of the conservative republican members of the House of Representatives

Roughly an hour after the article was published and circulated, the Louisiana Democratic Party announced by email that the Legislative auditor also requested the information from them too.  

While the Republican party accused the legislative auditor and others, the Louisiana Democratic Party, through its Chairwoman Karen Carter Peterson announced its compliance with the law.

The difference in tone between the two parties became obvious as did some pertinent questions.   When the LAGOP outwardly show its rage, did the Louisiana Republican Party know that its democratic counterpart was also “targeted”?   If so, then how could they so openly and passionately complain of being persecuted by anti-conservative governmental  thugs?

According to the Advocate,  “The legislative auditor has requested fiscal statements from the state’s Democratic and Republican parties under a nearly 40-year-old law requiring the reports to be filed annually with his office.

Louisiana Republican Party Executive Director Jason Doré claimed Wednesday that the request is politically motivated and rooted in recent party efforts to squelch an alternative state budget promoted by some members of the Louisiana House.

“We have grave concerns that this action is an attempt out of the Obama Administration’s playbook to halt our ability to express free speech,” Doré wrote in a widely distributed email. He also raised the specter of recent IRS activities involving tea party and other conservative groups.

The Louisiana Democratic Party got the same request from the Legislative Auditor’s Office. The letter was addressed to party chairman state Sen. Karen Peterson, D-New Orleans, who led state efforts to re-elect President Barack Obama.

“In the spirit of openness and transparency and in accordance with state law, the Louisiana Democratic Party has complied with the Legislative Auditor’s request for information,” Peterson said in a prepared statement.

Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera called Doré’s assertion “ridiculous ... If he knew me, he would not be saying I’m using the Obama administration playbook.”

Purpera said he would comply with state law.

“I don’t audit those financial statements. We are the depository,” he said.

Purpera said his office was informed about a week ago about the legal requirement for political parties to annually file financial statements.

He said he has asked the auditor’s legal counsel to determine whether he can reveal who pointed out the law.” (Read more of Martha Shuler’s article)

The Advertiser added more facts to this Louisiana-styled-inquisition.

Purpera said auditors weren’t aware of the requirement until Rep. Nick Lorusso, R-New Orleans, sent an email asking whether the state Republican Party had filed its report.

“Now that I know it’s there, I’m going to be sending a letter once a year,” Purpera said.

The oversight may be because the law is contained in the state’s election code, rather than in the section of law dealing with the auditor’s office, Purpera said. He said he doesn’t know what enforcement mechanisms or penalties are in place should a party not comply.

The Republican Party sent out an email Wednesday claiming the request was politically motivated and possibly tied to the party’s opposition to a budget proposal put forward by some House members earlier this year. Lorusso was not one of the key figures behind that plan.

The GOP also tied the request to the ongoing revelations that federal IRS employees targeted filings by tea party groups for closer scrutiny.

“We have grave concerns that this action is an attempt out of the Obama administration’s playbook to halt our ability to express free speech,” party Executive Director Jason Dore said in the email.

Why did Lorusso, a conservative republican request the information about his own political party?  Hopefully, he will tell us all some day.

In the meantime, it is as remote as an Alaskan desert that Lorusso, a second-term legislator who served much of his first term in Afghanistan, would be involved in an Obama administration squeeze.

More so, with the party linking the probe to the IRS scandal or at the very minimum taking a page out of the oldest political playbook, blaming the their victimization, in this case, to anything Obama, the smell of gun powder  of embarrassment competes with the odor of  its own actions.

Let’s be clear.  What is occurring in Washington DC is absolutely “chilling” to the rights of all Americans.  Unquestionably, the targeting of conservative groups by the IRS is as repugnant of a government action that one can imagine.  Plainly, it is un-American.

Whether Obama is complicit remains to be seen.  If he was directly involved in the targeting or if he engaged in any action that prevented an independent review of the IRS’s activity, then his political head should and must roll.

Also, the IRS targeting occurred on his watch.  The buck stops at his administration’s feet regardless of any active involvement by the president.   Criminal charges should be brought against anyone, no matter how powerful, broke the law.

However, this sordid behavior by members of the federal government does not give the Louisiana Republican Party leaders (or anyone) license to take advantage of this controversy.  That is what clearly occurred.  The more efforts to politicalize and capitalize upon a horrible chapter in American history, the greater the real victims' complaints will become minimized.  That is the law of political reactions or otherwise known as political backfirings. 

Louisiana republicans are dedicated and proud citizens with legitimate ideas.  The party head should lead with its many worthy ideas, not by engaging in obvious political gimmicks that ultimately demean its lofty principles but, even worse, its own members.


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Stephen Sabludowsky | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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