While John Kline (R-MN-02) staff may not inform his constituents where he will be holding “District listening sessions”, the Minnesota Chapter of the Republican Jewish Coalition has announced that his fundraiser will be held Monday, August 12th at 6PM at the Sabes Jewish Community Center Auditorium in Saint Louis Park.
For those not familiar with the Minnesota Chapter of the Republican Jewish Coalition, it seeks “to foster and enhance ties between the American Jewish community and Republican decision makers. We work to sensitize Republican leadership in government and the party to the concerns and issues of the Jewish community, while articulating and advocating Republican ideas and policies within the Jewish community.”
Of the subjects that could possibly be discussed, the Sequester has to be at the top of the list.
Budget sequestration, a law passed in 2011 and triggered in March of this year when Congress failed to agree on a plan to address our fiscal future, mandates across the board cuts of about 8 percent.
These cuts include virtually all government activities ranging from funding the IRS to monies for foreign aid and even America’s national defense spending
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel just completed his analysis of future cuts suggesting that Navy could see reductions in “the number of carrier strike groups could be dropped from today’s 11 to ‘eight or nine’ ”; “the Air Force could reduce tactical aircraft squadrons — potentially as many as five”; the Marine Corps, end strength could fall from today’s target of 182,000 down to “between 150,000 and 175,000”; dropping the total number of active-duty soldiers down to “between 380,000 and 450,000 troops,”; Military pay and benefits also could take a big hit in the form of smaller pay raises, reduced housing allowances, cuts to overseas cost-of-living adjustments, and limits on access to military health care for younger retirees.
In the backdrop of Secretary Hagel’s comments is the comment from Michael Oren, the Israel ambassador to Washington, “The American people are bearing the burden of sequestration and we will bear that burden with them.”
In the coming fiscal year, Israel is due to receive $3.1 billion in defense assistance with an additional $607 million for its Iron Dome anti-missile system, which Israel says was instrumental in repelling rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip during last November’s war. Also potentially affected would be over $450 million in American contributions to joint U.S.-Israel anti-missile programs.
John Kline is a co-sponsor of H.R. 1130, the Iron Dome Support Act which aims at ensuring monies for Iron Dome continues … the audience will no doubt be interested to hear Representative Kline’s reaction to Secretary Hagel and Ambassador Oren statements.
Another issue that the audience may want Representative Kline to comment on was the subject of his August 2nd press release regarding legislation he sponsored to prohibit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from implementing or enforcing any provisions of the Affordable Care Act:
“It is unconscionable the IRS was targeting American taxpayers based on their politics and we still are waiting for a legitimate explanation on how a government agency was allowed to trample on the First Amendment of the Constitution in such a disturbing and alarming over-reach of government power.”
Besides the vote on H.R. 2009, the Republican-controlled Financial Services and General Government subcommittee plans IRS funding at $9 billion in FY2014 which is significantly below the almost $12 billion authorized for FY2013.
For those who have not been paying attention to the “IRS scandal”, the IRS apologized on May 10, 2013, for singling out tax-exemption applications from groups whose names included “tea party,” “patriot” or “9/12.” Some new organizations were seeking exemption from federal taxes either as charitable groups with IRS designation 501(c)3 or as social welfare groups, which are allowed to engage in limited political activity without disclosing donors, under IRS designation 501(c)4.
Congressional investigations are still reviewing IRS records … which means that not all the facts are in evidence yet Mr. Kline is implying guilt.
Examining the political activity of groups applying for exemption is the IRS’s job. The key question in evaluating applications is whether the group is primarily a “social welfare” organizations, rather than partisan organizations.
Most interesting will be how Mr. Kline chooses his words … considering the audience and August 21, 2012 letter sent to the IRS requesting a review of the tax preference status of various group … explicitly citing Republican Jewish Coalition
An investigation by ProPublica, drawing on documents filed with the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Election Commission, offers the most detailed picture to date of how 501(c)(4) groups have used their tax status for purposes likely never intended.
Our examination shows that dozens of these groups do little or nothing to justify the subsidies they receive from taxpayers. Instead, they are pouring much of their resources, directly or indirectly, into political races at the local, state and federal level.
The Republican Jewish Coalition reference is :
Matt Brooks describes the mission of the Republican Jewish Coalition as educating the Jewish community about critical domestic and foreign policy issues.
But the well-dressed crowd that gathered in May for a luncheon on the 24th floor of a New York law firm easily could have figured that the group had a different purpose: Helping Mitt Romney win the presidency.
Brooks, the group’s executive director, showed the 100 or so attendees two coalition-funded ads taking aim at President Barack Obama. Then Brooks made a pitch for a $6.5 million plan to help Romney in battleground states, reminding guests that their donations would not be publicly disclosed by the tax-exempt group.
“Contributions to the RJC are not reported,” Brooks told the people sitting around a horseshoe-shaped table. “We don’t make our donors’ names available. We can take corporate money, personal money, cash, shekels, whatever you got.”
While there may be other currently tax-exempt groups similar to the Republican Jewish Coalition that promote other political parties, the question raised by ProPublica — “these groups do little or nothing to justify the subsidies they receive from taxpayers” — is the proper question … plus, should they continue … especially in light of the sequester and national debt.
Sadly, Representative Kline is a co-sponsor of the FAIR Tax … which by its name implies that it is “fair” yet the legislation explicitly provides for continued tax-exempt status for these groups.
Providing tax breaks for political activities does not seem fair to the taxpayers … actually, cutting IRS funding makes even less sense, as it should be pursuing recovery of monies by examining these faux-“charitable“-groups.