Tag Archives: Tea Party

DOJ: No contempt charges for former IRS official Lois Lerner

DOJ: No contempt charges for former IRS official Lois Lerner

She is still under investigation for a separate tea party targeting matter.

Former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) official Lois Lerner speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 5, 2014, during the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the the agency's targeting of tea party groups, where she invoked her constitutional right not to incriminate herself.  (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)

The Justice Department will not seek criminal contempt charges against former IRS official Lois Lerner, the central figure in a scandal that erupted over whether the tax agency improperly targeted conservative political groups.

Ronald Machen, the former U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, told House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in a seven-page letter this week that he would not bring a criminal case to a grand jury over Lerner’s refusal to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in March 2014. The House approved a criminal contempt resolution against Lerner in May 2014, and Machen’s office has been reviewing the issue since then.

Lerner and other IRS officials, however, are still under investigation by the FBI for the tea party targeting matter — which is a separate probe entirely.

Lerner cited her Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself during congressional testimony on March 5, 2014, although then-Oversight Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said she had waived that right by giving an opening statement at a hearing 10 months earlier when she asserted her innocence. Issa wanted her charged by the Justice Department with criminal contempt of Congress for failing to answer questions about her role in the scandal.

Machen said the Oversight Committee “followed proper procedures” in telling Lerner that it had “rejected her claim of privilege and gave her an adequate opportunity to answer the committee’s questions.”

However, Machen said DOJ lawyers determined that Lerner “did not waive her Fifth Amendment right by making an opening statement on May 22, 2013, because she made only general claims of innocence.”

Machen added: “Given that assessment, we have further concluded that it is not appropriate for a United States attorney to present the matter to the grand jury for action where, as here, the Constitution prevents the witness from being prosecuted for contempt.”

Lerner, unsurprisingly, was pleased by the announcement. “Anyone who takes a serious and impartial look at this issue would conclude that Ms. Lerner did not waive her Fifth Amendment rights,” said Lerner’s attorney, William Taylor III, in a statement. “It is unfortunate that the majority party in the House put politics before a citizen’s constitutional rights.”

“Ms. Lerner is pleased to have this matter resolved and looks forward to moving on with her life,” Taylor added.

Republicans were disappointed by the decision not to move ahead.

“Once again, the Obama administration has tried to sweep IRS targeting of taxpayers for their political beliefs under the rug,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel, urging the White House to “do the right thing and appoint a special counsel to examine the IRS’ actions.”

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), one of several House Oversight Committee members who says Justice has failed to take the IRS matter seriously, said the decision “offers little assurance to the American taxpayer that the department is actually investigating this abuse of power.”

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who led the IRS probe in the House, knocked Machen in a statement for “us[ing] his power as a political weapon to undermine the rule of law.”

“Mr. Machen … unilaterally decided to ignore the will of the House of Representatives,” Jordan said. “He and the Justice Department have given Lois Lerner cover for her failure to account for her actions at the IRS.”

Lerner, who led the IRS unit that subjected conservative nonprofits to additional scrutiny, quickly became the face of the scandal when she revealed the practice during an obscure tax conference on May 9, 2013. At the time, Lerner and the IRS blamed “frontline” employees in the agency’s Cincinnati office for any violations, though later it became clear that IRS headquarters in Washington, D.C., was holding up approval of the nonprofit groups’ tax status for years at time.

When initially summoned to Capitol Hill to answer for the scandal in May 2013, Lerner took the Fifth Amendment and refused to answer questions. Lawmakers would eventually hold her in contempt of Congress when she, again, asserted her Fifth Amendment privilege at the second hearing in March 2014.

GOP investigators on both the House Oversight and the Ways and Means committees have released numerous emails showing Lerner’s liberal political leanings. They’ve accused her of bias in the workplace, including using her position to try to persuade IRS auditors to probe and reject the nonprofit application for Karl Rove’s influential Crossroads GPS.

Republicans also noted Lerner’s private skepticism of political nonprofits, which are governed by complex rules originally designed to limit their direct role in elections. Republicans assert that Lerner tried to use her division to crack down on conservative political groups, something Democrats had been urging the IRS to consider.

Last June, more than a year into the investigation, the IRS announced it lost two years’ worth of Lerner’s emails in a 2011 computer crash. The agency said the emails were not recoverable because it had recycled her hard drive and written over relevant backup tapes.

The IRS inspector general later proved the agency wrong, unearthing backup tapes that investigators believe include the correspondence.

Lerner maintains her innocence and argues she was only doing her job — ensuring nonprofits follow the rules. Though Lerner refused to talk to lawmakers during the probe, her lawyer said Lerner cooperated with the FBI, answering its questions as needed. The results of the fuller FBI investigation are expected soon.

Lerner has given only one interview with the press, an exclusive with POLITICO, in which she talked about how the scandal has changed her life dramatically, including making her the object of public scorn. Even then, Lerner, at the behest of her attorneys, refused to answer specific questions about her role in the whole practice.

Obama to call for new tax increases in State of the Union address

Obama to call for new tax increases in State of the Union address

Tea Party: Taxed Enough Already

WASHINGTON — President Obama plans to use his State of the Union speech to target tax loopholes that benefit the wealthy, while offering new tax breaks for middle-class items like child care, White House officials said Saturday.

In the prime-time address Tuesday, the president plans to call for ending certain loopholes on trust funds, increasing the top tax rates on dividends and capital gains, and imposing new fees on big financial firms that borrow heavily.

Obama also plans to propose new tax breaks for families that have a second working member, child care and the costs of college education, according to a White House proposal.

He will propose a requirement for businesses that do not have a retirement plan to automatically enroll employees into individual retirement accounts.

The package is designed “to simplify our complex tax code, make it fairer by eliminating some of the biggest loopholes, and use the savings to responsibly pay for the investments we need to help middle-class families get ahead and grow the economy,” says a White House statement.

In unveiling a plan to be discussed at the State of the Union, the Obama administration said that closing loopholes for the wealthy would generate revenue of $320 billion over 10 years; the new tax breaks that Obama plans to propose would cost $235 billion over 10 years.

The $235 billion includes both the new tax breaks and the president’s proposal to make community college free for responsible students, which he laid out last week.

Republicans who control both the U.S. House and Senate have objected to what they call tax hikes and excessive business regulations proposed by the Obama administration, saying they would slow business activity.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said this week that Obama has practiced “the old politics of pitting, you know, one set of Americans against the other, on the outdated ways of bureaucratic control, all top-down Washington solutions.”

Republican leaders have also said they would work with Obama on simplifying the tax code, one of the goals of the president’s package.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said that one goal of tax reform should be reducing the corporate tax reform, helping U.S. businesses become more competitive globally. McConnell said this week that the problem with past Obama plans is that “you leave out most of American business.”

An administration statement said that “hundreds of billions of dollars” in inherited assets that are part of trust funds escape taxation every year, and called for the elimination of this “trust fund loophole.”

Another proposal is to increase the top rates on long-term capital gains and dividends from 23.8% to 28% on the highest income households, the level they were at during the Reagan administration.

The proposed fee on financial firms would discourage them from over-borrowing, one of the things that led to the financial meltdown, the White House said. It said the fee could be applied to some 100 firms that have assets of more than $50 billion.

Some of the revenue from these loophole closings would be used for tax breaks designed to “reinvest in the middle class,” said the White House statement.

They include a proposed $500 “second earner” tax credit for families in which both spouses work.

Another State of the Union plank would triple the maximum child care tax credit, providing up to $3,000 per child under the age of 5.

The White House said Obama wants to consolidate six college aid programs into two, helping provide students up to $2,500 in assistance.

A proposed requirement that workers be enrolled in some kind of retirement savings plan would apply to employers who have more than 10 employees.

Obama and aides have spent the past two weeks promoting other items he plans to discuss Tuesday, including proposals on housing, manufacturing, community college, cybersecurity and paid leave.

In his Saturday radio address, Obama previewed some of the people who will sit in the presidential box during the speech.

They include a woman who expanded her business through a federal loan, a wounded warrior who fought in Afghanistan and a man who is repaying his student loans and obtained health insurance through federal programs.

Obama told the radio audience that his State of the Union Address will emphasize economic recovery and “how to build on our momentum” through rising incomes and a stronger middle class.

“And I’ll call on this new Congress to join me in putting aside the political games and finding areas where we agree so we can deliver for the American people,” Obama said.

The White House has announced Obama’s travel in the days after Tuesday’s speech. The president will speak Wednesday at Boise State University in Idaho, and Thursday at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.

If Republicans Had Embraced Tea Party, Elections Wouldn’t Even Be A Contest

If Republicans Had Embraced Tea Party, Elections Wouldn’t Even Be A Contest

The outcomes wouldn’t even have been close

Rush: If Republicans had embraced the tea party, midterm results wouldn’t even be a contest
by JOE SAUNDERS | BIZPAC REVIEW

With just about every poll and pundit predicting Republican success in Tuesday’s elections, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh told listeners the outcomes wouldn’t even have been close if the GOP paid more attention to its tea party base.

Limbaugh was reacting to a Politico piece posted Monday, “Mainstream GOP Sees Tipping Point vs. Insurgent Candidates,” that aimed to explain Republicans expected successes Tuesday as a victory for the party’s “establishment,” structure.

National Republicans managed this year to snuff out every bomb-throwing insurgent who tried to wrest a Senate nod away from one of their favored candidates ….

The confrontational approach — by both party committees and outside super PACs — represented a sharp departure from the GOP’s cautious strategy in the 2010 and 2012 cycles, when cartoonishly inept nominees aligned with the tea party lost the party as many as five Senate seats.

So it was the Republican national party turning its back on the tea party that set the table for victory on Tuesday?

Wrong, Limbaugh said.

It was the tea party – vast and unorganized but deeply committed — that kept the conservative cause alive and thriving long before the rest of the country or the GOP establishment got a handle on the results of Barack Obama’s 2008 victory and liberal Democrats control of the House, Senate and White House.

And if Republicans win the midterm electoral victories that are being predicted, it will be in spite of the national party’s efforts to distance itself from the base that kept it alive in the first place. Had the national party been even open to what Politico describes as “insurgents” in the GOP ranks, it would have been seeing even more success, Limbaugh said.

And if the Republican Party had embraced the most amazing political event of our lifetime, and that’s the rise of the Tea Party … — ah, you might want to say the fall of the Berlin Wall, but that also had foreign policy connotations. But out of nowhere this massive political movement rises. Out of nowhere in 2010 it arises precisely because of its opposition to the Democrat president, the Democrat Party, and what they are doing to the country, and to this day the Republican Party has refused to embrace it. In fact, it’s the opposite.

They’ve attempted to diminish and impugn the Tea Party to the point now we’ve got a Politico story, which says that the real thing the Republicans are gonna celebrate if they take the Senate is not taking the Senate but vanquishing the idea that the Tea Party is needed for Republicans to win.
As usual, Rush is right.

Of course there were primary fights between Republicans – that’s what primaries are for. But none of the Republicans in competitive races Tuesday had the luxury of turning their backs on the tea party movement.

Nor should they, even if election politics were different this year. The goal, after all, is not winning intra-Republican disputes. And it’s not winning elections just for the sake of winning elections in 2016. The goal is repairing some of the damage wrought over the past six years by the victory of “hope and change” illusions in 2008.

And that’s going to mean the tea party movement is more important even than it was before – no matter what GOP sources might be telling lefty news website reporters inside the Beltway.

“It’s not about stopping the tea party, for crying out loud!” Limbaugh said. “It’s about stopping Obama.”

It has been since Day One. And the tea party knew it long before the “mainstream” GOP did.

Courts Side With IRS In Tea Party Targeting Scandal

Courts Side With IRS In Tea Party Targeting Scandal

Tea Party IRS Targeting Scandal

A federal judge has sided with the Internal Revenue Service and dismissed lawsuits by tea-party groups seeking redress for the secret targeting of their applications for tax-exempt status, which the groups argued were intentionally delayed for political purposes.

The tea-party organizations immediately announced they would appeal the decision by Washington, D.C., District Judge Reggie B. Walton, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush.

Walton ruled that two lawsuits by Texas-based True the Vote and Linchpins of Liberty, along with 41 other conservative groups, were moot because the IRS took steps to address the scandal and “publicly suspended its targeting scheme.”

Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law & Justice, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the tea-party groups, said he plans to appeal the case.

“The decision by the court is disappointing. However, it does not deter our efforts to seek justice for our clients. We are reviewing the decision and plan to appeal,” Sekulow said in an emailed statement.

In its federal lawsuit, the ACLJ represents 41 organizations in 22 states. Of the 41 groups, 28 organizations received tax-exempt status after lengthy delays, seven are still pending, five withdrew applications because of frustration with the IRS process, and one had its file closed by the IRS after refusing to answer the unconstitutional requests for more information, Sekulow said.

“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.

Walton decided that because the organizations eventually won tax-exempt status, any wrongdoing they suffered had been remedied.

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

Although the tea-party 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, told the Daily Signal that given the unapologetic behavior of Lois Lerner and other Obama cronies at the IRS, “and their total lack of remorse, I don’t think it’s ‘speculative’ that this could happen again in the future.”

Sekulow said previously that the IRS violated the groups’ constitutional rights to due process and equal protection with its secret targeting of their applications. The lawsuit was initially filed on May 20, 2013, with 25 plaintiffs. But more have come forward.

“The floodgates opened after we filed our initial lawsuit,” Sekulow said after the complaint was amended in June 2013 to reflect the additional groups. “We have been contacted by many additional organizations that have been unlawfully targeted by the IRS — revealing that this unconstitutional scheme was pervasive and damaging.”

Tea Party-backed Cochran foe challenges loss in Mississippi state court

Tea Party-backed Cochran foe challenges loss in Mississippi state court

Associated Press

Chris McDaniel Mississippi Tea Party Thad Cochran
State Sen. Chris McDaniel speaks to supporters during a tour stop at the Holiday Inn Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss.AP

A tea party-backed candidate asked a Mississippi court on Thursday to declare him the winner of the June 24 Republican runoff against incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran or order a new election.

MS Senator Thad Cochran
MS Senator Thad Cochran

State Sen. Chris McDaniel sued Thursday in state court in his own home of Jones County. The Mississippi Supreme Court will appoint a special judge to handle the case, though it would be unprecedented for a court to order a do-over of a statewide election.

Cochran’s campaign and the Republicans’ national Senate office have said they are already focused on Cochran’s bid for re-election in November against Democratic former U.S. Rep. Travis Childers and Reform Party candidate Shawn O’Hara.

Certified results of the June 24 runoff show Cochran defeated McDaniel by 7,667 votes. But McDaniel says his campaign found thousands of irregularities, including about 3,500 people who voted in the June 3 Democratic primary and June 24 runoff. Mississippi voters don’t register by party, but such crossover voting is prohibited.

McDaniel has criticized Cochran for reaching out to black voters who traditionally support Democrats. Turnout increased from the primary to the runoff, and Cochran fared well in many majority-black precincts.

McDaniel campaign representatives spent weeks examining ballot boxes and other voting records. McDaniel said they found about 9,500 “irregular” votes and 2,275 “improperly cast” absentee ballots.

McDaniel began his challenge with a complaint to the Mississippi Republican Party executive committee on Aug. 4, asking the group to declare him the winner over Cochran.

State GOP chairman Joe Nosef said Aug. 6 that the committee would not consider the challenge because it did not have time to thoroughly examine the information McDaniel provided about alleged voting irregularities. Thursday marked the deadline to file a lawsuit challenging his loss.

State law says the general-election sample ballot must be given to local election officials by Sept. 10, which is 55 days before the Nov. 4 general election. While a court could order a new primary even after the general election, McDaniel campaign attorney Mitch Tyner has said he wants the dispute over the primary resolved in time to keep the general election on track.

MS Democrat: My ‘Mission in Life is to Catch that Big Fat Boar’ Haley Barbour

MS Democrat: My ‘Mission in Life is to Catch that Big Fat Boar’ Haley Barbour

‘Cut him and Fry him out for Lard!’

Mississippi Democratic Party chairman Rickey Cole spared no harsh words for former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in a Facebook post late Thursday evening, comparing the GOP establishment titan at the center of the effort to re-elect Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) to a pig who’s used the U.S. treasury as his own piggy bank.

Haley Barbour Mississippi Republican“Genteel old Thad Cochran is Haley Barbour’s puppet,” Cole said in the Facebook posting. “Haley Barbour is an insatiably greedy hog who has spent his entire life using the federal and state governments as his personal ATM machine. His cronies brag that Boss Hogg Haley ‘owns’ Mississippi. Again, let me get really plain with you: a fat, greedy, unprincipled old boar hog has rooted up our crops in Mississippi far too long. My mission in life is to catch that big fat boar, cut him and fry him out for lard. If you can show me how to do that without getting a little dirty, then you know a lot more about hogs and mud than I do.”

Cole’s message was to Democrats in Mississippi who have been pushing back on his efforts to expose alleged voter fraud and irregularities in the June 24 Republican runoff. While he’s a Democrat, and many Democrats crossed over to help Cochran get more votes than conservative state Sen. Chris McDaniel, Cole has been particularly vocal in exposing many of the irregularities.

While some Democrats seem to want to let sleeping dogs lie, Cole is having none of it—and directed that message about Cochran and Barbour to his Democrat friends who want to let Cochran walk away with the nomination at this point.

“I know there are some among us for whom the rough and tumble of politics is unseemly,” Cole said in his message. “I have been brought to task by some who expect me to exercise my duties from a lofty plain, and not sully myself or the party by stooping to even comment on the Republican internal fight. Let me be plain, so we will understand who we are facing, who I am and how I operate.”

Barbour did not respond to an email requesting comment late Thursday.

The former Mississippi governor and former Republican National Committee chairman was a key player in helping Cochran through the primary. Barbour, according to a recent report from Fox News, was behind many of the ads that painted the Tea Party as racist to turn Democrat voters out for Cochran.

Is Rand Paul Getting Softer?

Is Rand Paul Getting Softer?

Rand Paul
Rand Paul

Unlike his father Ron Paul, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky) has seen giving in to the pressures of the Republican party more and more over the months. Now, he is looking much less like the Libertarian (What is a Libertarian?)  “folk hero” he was a few years ago and more like an establishment GOP pawn.

One issue that’s getting away from Senator Paul? The issue of voter identification.

Senator Paul doesn’t think it’s right for individuals who are headed to the polls to be required to present a voter ID to make sure they are legally allowed to vote.

Sounding more and more like a politician and less and less like a principled statesman who values the constitution and the laws of the republic, Mr Paul said to The New York Times:

“Everybody’s gone completely crazy over this voter ID thing. I think it’s wrong for Republicans to go too crazy on this issue because it’s offending people.”

That’s the thing Mr. Paul is worried about.

Offending people.

Rather than sticking to the principles of a country that was founded on an idealism aligned with right and wrong, Senator Paul doesn’t want to step on toes so that he might be able to get more votes.

After all, when he gets more votes, then he might have a chance to become Commander in Chief, something his stalwart father was never able to attain.

But that’s the thing.

Ron Paul
Ron Paul

His father (founder of the Tea Party) was never able to make it to the top because he never shifted away from his center. Ron Paul’s moral compass didn’t find itself flitting to and fro based on what was popular, but stayed aligned with what was true and right.

Ron Paul, didn’t do things because they were convenient, or because they helped him get an edge. He stayed the course, even if it never meant that he’d be sworn in on inauguration day.

But Rand is beginning to look less like his stonewall father, and more like a brick of Play-Doh. As he said in Memphis not too long ago:

“The party [republican] needed to soften its edges and show more sympathy to populations that have felt overlooked and maligned by Republicans.”

Does Senator Paul really care about people who are “overlooked?” Or does he care about doling out some candy so he can get people hooked on sugar?

That’s what Democrats do.

It might be one thing to acquiesce and say people don’t need to have a voter ID, but where does the slippery slope end?

To his credit, Paul says that the Voter ID issue should be left to the decision of state legislature.

But the reality is the softer he gets on critically important issues, the less he’s looking like a solid representative of true, conservative ideals.

Thad Cochran’s Campaign Hangs Up On Media Call

Thad Cochran’s Campaign Hangs Up On Media Call

Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R-MS) top campaign operatives hung up on numerous members of the national media after a press conference call Wednesday. The call was intended to rebut state Sen. Chris McDaniel’s campaign’s allegations of voter fraud in Mississippi’s GOP primary runoff. Instead, it turned into a circus.

“Quick question,” an unidentified man interrupted senior Cochran campaign adviser Austin Barbour on the press call.

“You’ll have an opportunity to ask a question at the end of the call,” Barbour fired back. “Listen, I will give everyone an opportunity to ask a question when we get through. We’ll be happy to answer any questions from any members of the media.”

As Barbour tried to get going again with his message, the man interrupted him again: “I’d like to know if black people were harvesting cotton, why do you think it’s okay to harvest their votes? They’re not animals. Why are you treating black people like they’re animals?”

“Sir, I don’t know where you’re calling from,” Barbour responded. “But I’m happy to address any question, no matter the lunacy of it, when we get to the end of this call.”

“Why did you use black people to try to get Cochran elected when they’re not even Republicans, and you’re treating them as if they’re just idiots because they’ll vote for Cochran just because they’re black,” the unidentified man followed up. “Why’d you harvest those votes?”

Barbour again attempted to ignore the question. “So, listen, here’s what we’re going to do,” he told the reporters on the line. “We’re going to keep trying to go through this call, and if there’s individuals who decided that they want to hijack this call, we’ll just let it get through with it and I’ll be glad to answer any of your questions.”

“I just gave you one,” the man interjected yet again. “Why do you treat black people like because they’re black they’re going to vote for Cochran?”

Seemingly unfazed, Barbour trudged onward. “So the members of the national media who participated in this call, you’ve got my cell phone and you’ve got my email address,” Barbour said. “You’ve got Jordan Russell’s cell phone and you’ve got Jordan Russell’s email. Please feel free to give us a call if you have any questions. We tried to do this as a courtesy to the national media, so if you have any questions, please feel free to call us.”

At that point, one such unidentified male national reporter interjected: “One quick question—one quick legitimate question.”

“I’m sorry but the call is ending,” Barbour said, as he and Russell hung up their phones.

A female reporter then said, as Barbour hung up the phone: “Let him talk!”

“That’s why I tried to interrupt,” the thus-far unidentified reporter, who had tried to ask a “quick legitimate question,” responded.

“If you wouldn’t have interrupted he wouldn’t have ended it,” the female reporter responded.

“He was ending it,” the male reporter said.

“But we were all listening,” the female reporter replied. “We were all listening, and you were being rude.”

“I wasn’t the one that was saying stuff about cotton,” the male reporter retorted. “I didn’t say a word until just now.”

For the next nearly ten minutes, several senior national media reporters remained on the line discussing what just happened with each other—in seeming disbelief.

“I don’t know who’s all on this phone call, but if you consider yourself to be a responsible member of the media, learn how to conduct yourself when a political campaign is holding a conference call,” one male national reporter said. “Give the man a chance to answer your question at the end of his presentation.”

Reporters discussed who they thought the unidentified man who asked the cotton question was, and one threw out the suggestion that it was independent journalist Charles C. Johnson—the man behind a series of mischievous stories in Mississippi—but then another reporter interjected: “No, it was not Chuck Johnson.”

While Johnson didn’t ask those questions, he did tweet out details of the conference call, including the call-in number and passcode.

Another reporter suggested it was a McDaniel supporter: “If he was a Chris supporter, he didn’t do Chris any favors.”

Reporters discussed that for about another minute, before another reporter then jumped in and said, “Who knows, it could have been a plant? It could have been a Cochran campaign plant.”

A second reporter concurred: “Yeah, it could have been that too.”

Reporters who were on the call include this reporter, Johnson, a woman from the Wall Street Journal, a woman from the Christian Science Monitor, the New York Times’ Jonathan Weisman, The Daily Caller’s Alex Pappas, reporters from Politico, and scores of other media outlets.

The McDaniel campaign seized on the happenings with the call to note that the Cochran campaign seems to be in “disarray.” McDaniel spokesman Noel Fritsch told Breitbart News:

With the allegations of criminal misconduct surrounding Cochran’s Democrat effort piling up, it’s no wonder his campaign is in a state of wild disarray. The Republican party in Mississippi should have no problem speaking up and fighting to maintain electoral integrity and championing conservative, Republican values. Sadly, though, the Cochran campaign needed over 40,000 votes from liberal Democrats to win a Republican primary, which might explain why they’re not so keen on championing conservative, Republican values.

The McDaniel campaign also called on Sen. Cochran himself—not political consultants working for him—to step up and address these matters.

“It’s time for Thad Cochran to return to Mississippi to take control of his campaign to address the allegations of criminal conduct surrounding his questionable strategy of acquiring votes from Democrats,” Fritsch said.

After the call, Russell tweeted out two separate statements: “Legitimate members of the media that were not able to be at the press conference in Jackson, you know where to find us if you need us,” he tweetedadding: “The plus side of that episode is now the national media sees what type of people we have to deal with day to day.”

An audio recording of the call can be heard below:

Liberal Congressman Turns On Obama Compares IRS Scandal to Nixon Tapes

Liberal Congressman Turns On Obama Compares IRS Scandal to Nixon Tapes