(The Blaze) – The Internal Revenue Service this week will publish a final rule requiring Obamacare health insurance exchanges to hand over key personal data to the IRS, which will use the information to implement the tax aspects of the controversial health care law.
The IRS rule covers health exchanges that sell insurance to individuals, and it takes effect this year. That means people enrolled in an Obamacare exchange this year will have their information given to the IRS as soon as it’s needed for tax purposes.
Information to be handed over from Obamacare exchanges includes names, addresses, taxpayer identification numbers, insurance premium amounts, the name of the insurance issuer, and the insurance plan policy number issued by the exchanges.
The IRS says this data is needed to assess whether people are eligible for a health insurance tax credit. “This tax credit can help make purchasing health insurance coverage more affordable for people with moderate incomes,” according to the IRS.
The rule is being published amid ongoing concerns about data security, and after the troubled launch of the healthcare.gov website that exposed many technical glitches. Those issues have some worried that the personal data people give to the exchanges will be at risk.
House Republicans have passed a few bills aimed at addressing this potential problem. In January, for example, the House passed the Exchange Information Disclosure Act, which would require the government to tell people whenever their personal information has been compromised.
Republicans have also passed legislation requiring weekly updates from the administration on how the law is being implemented, including details about website glitches.
So far, however, only the House has passed these bills, and the Senate has not given any indication it will consider them.
The final IRS rule follows draft regulations that were issued last summer. Those rules were put out for public comment, and the final rules to be published this week were tweaked in some ways in response to those comments.
But the IRS also ignored some requests to alter the rule. For example, the draft rule said exchanges must tell the IRS whether a person enrolled in an Obamacare plan by a taxpayer is that taxpayer’s dependent. The commenter said the IRS should have that information, and that it therefore doesn’t need to be reported.
But the IRS said it would not change this rule.
“The final regulations do not adopt this comment because information the IRS provides as part of the verification process is from the taxpayer’s most recently filed tax return, which may be two years old,” the rule states.
The final IRS rule is due to be published on Wednesday.
West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin appeared on Morning Joe this morning to discuss several issues. One of them was whether or not he would like to have President Obama campaigning for him if he was running for reelection this year.
John Heileman, a frequent guest on the show as well as an explanation for the show’s sucky ratings, asked Manchin point blank: “If you were running for reelection this year, two quick questions: One. would you ask the President to come campaign for you in West Virginia?”
Before Heileman could even get to the second question, Manchin answered the first one with a succinct “No.”
That drew a belly laugh from the show’s token Republican, Joe Scarborough. Actually, he might be the network’s token Republican.
The second question was whether he would embrace or run away from ObamaCare. He cut that baby by saying that he wants to fix the law rather than repeal it.
First Amendment organization characterized as “racist”
Paul Joseph Watson
May 5, 2014
A protest against a California school district’s decision to ban the wearing of American flag t-shirts on Cinco de Mayo has begun this morning, with demonstrators displaying large flags and banners outside Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill.
The demonstration stems from an incident in 2010 when four students at the school were told by assistant principal Miguel Rodriguez to turn their shirts inside out or go home because the American flag designs were seen as “offensive” to Mexican students on Cinco de Mayo, a day on which Mexicans celebrate their heritage.
The incident led to a lawsuit, Dariano v. Morgan Hill Unified School District, in which students claimed their First Amendment rights had been violated. However, in February the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the school, asserting that the threat of racial violence as a result of the t-shirts trumped the right to free speech. The case is set to be heard by 11 judges after another appeal was filed.
“The practice of limiting one group’s free speech rights because that speech might cause another group to react violently is known as the “heckler’s veto.” It is understood by free speech enthusiasts to have a chilling effect on First Amendment rights,” writes Robby SoaveI.
A group calling itself the Gilroy-Morgan Hill Patriots arrived this morning to display large American flags outside the school as students arrived for classes.
“The school…. erected a temporary chain link fence, covered in mesh, so that no one can get in – or see into – the school campus. And on Monday, school leaders put up a giant green-and-gold poster that reads, “United at the Roots,” reports NBC Bay Area.
According to Freedom X, the organization representing the Gilroy-Morgan Hill Patriots, the local community has been hostile to the protest.
“The group’s plans are not being received well by members of the community who have threatened protests in order to disrupt the event,” states their website. “The Morgan Hill Unified School District has held public meetings where the Patriots have been derided as racists. The district’s superintendent, Steve Betando, has repeatedly urged the Patriots to cancel the event ostensibly for safety reasons. Yet when pressed to explain what safety issues he anticipates, he is unable to give a clear answer.”
The NBC report clearly skews the issue in favor of the school, without mentioning whether or not students would be allowed to wear t-shirts bearing the Mexican flag.
Dozens of protesters began arriving outside school gates before 7am and were greeted by honks of support from passing motorists.
Had you noticed we were enjoying a “Year of Action”? Are you enjoying it?
On Saturday President Obama enjoyed his 11th golf outing of the year before heading off to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Today the president meets with President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti and then hosts a Cinco de Mayo reception in the Rose Garden. Later this week, the President will attend four Democratic fundraisers in California.
But perhaps the clearest sign of the “Year of Action” is in the results.
USA Today this morning:
By more than 2-1, 65 percent to 30 percent, Americans say they want the president elected in 2016 to pursue different policies and programs than the Obama administration, rather than similar ones…
By more than 2-1, Americans are dissatisfied with the direction of the country. They remain downbeat about the economy. They aren’t persuaded that the Affordable Care Act is going to help them and their families. Even the president’s supporters worry he is a political liability for fellow Democrats. The president’s job approval rating remains anemic in the new survey, at 44% approve, 50% disapprove.
President Obama’s national security adviser Ben Rhodes, who edited the administration’s Benghazi talking points, is a former fiction writer who penned a short story about a supernaturally gifted professional note-taker who rises through the corporate world by taking notes that make other people’s statements sound better.
Rhodes, it was recently revealed, sent a 2012 email after the Benghazi terrorist attack instructing then U.N. ambassador Susan Rice and other administration officials “to underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.”
Rhodes, who has worked for Obama since the president was a U.S. senator, holds a Masters degree in Fiction from New York University. His one known published short story, “The Goldfish Smiles, You Smile Back,” was published in Beloit Fiction Journal in the spring 2002 issue. The story was about a man with an incredible gift for note-taking.
“My notes are so impressive that they have taken on the form of ideas…I capture other people’s words in a manner that not only organizes them, but inserts a clarity and purpose that was not present in the original idea,” states the protagonist of Rhodes’ short story.
Obama’s little sensitive artist is the brother of CBS News president David Rhodes, whose network prevented investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson from digging too deep into the Benghazi scandal and finding out who edited the administration’s talking points.
With the Ohio primary less than 24 hours away, Republican House Speaker John Boehner is certainly not going to like the results a phone survey by Gravis Marketing. The survey, conducted in his district, consisted of a sampling of 2,275 voters who have voted in all four of the last Republican primaries.
The Daily Caller reported on Monday that Boehner only has the support of 49 percent of his constituents in his re-election bid. Even worse, 30 percent view him unfavorably. Boehner has come under fire over the last few years for weak leadership as well as failure to stand up to Harry Reid and the Obama administration. Although last week he called for a Select Committee to investigate the Benghazi scandal, many view that move as 20 months too late.
Boehner’s primary challenger J.D. Winteregg, is a newcomer to politics whose campaign became a media sensation after he debuted his “Electile Dysfunction” web ad contending that, at 23 years in the House, Boehner has been in office too long. The ad led to the termination of Winteregg’s contract as a adjunct professor at Cedarville University in Ohio. Although no direct connection with Boehner’s office and Winteregg’s firing has been made, the university did specifically cite the anti-Boehner ad as the reason for their decision.
Last week, the Daily Caller reported that this is not the first time a serious challenger to Boehner has been fired. In 2010, his Democrat opponent in the general election, Justin Coussoule, was fired from his job as a purchasing manager at Procter and Gamble and his wife, who also worked for the company, was transferred out of state. At the time, Procter and Gamble officials gave him an ultimatum. He could keep his job if he stayed out of the race. However, if he chose to continue with his congressional bid to unseat Boehner, he would either have to resign or he would be fired.
“In Justin’s case he was faced with resignation or termination from Procter & Gamble. They were surprised that anyone would want to run against John Boehner because he had been, as they said, so good for their business,” Alliea Phipps, Coussoule’s 2010 campaign manager, told TheDC.
A vice president of government relations at Procter & Gamble took Coussoule out for coffee after he first decided to run against Boehner, and pressured him not to do it.
“The exact phrase was, ‘Why would you want to run against John Boehner? He’s been so good for our business,” Phipps said. But Coussoule decided to run anyway, taking out a loan on his house and signing up campaign staff to work for free.
Boehner reportedly owns between $15,0001 and $50,000 in Procter & Gamble stock, which he reported on his 2012 financial disclosure. Boehner held only between $1,001 to $15,000 in the company’s stock, according to his 2009 disclosure, which he filed before the race against Coussoule. His 2010 disclosure shows him holding between $15,001 and $50,000 in the company’s stock. Procter & Gamble contributed $5,000 to Boehner’s 2010 campaign.
In April 2010, shortly before Coussoule became the Democratic nominee in the race in May, a Procter & Gamble official told him that he needed to resign or be terminated, specifically because he was running for Congress in the eighth district, according to Phipps.
Boehner’s friends in high places attempting to strong-arm Coussoule out of running gives more fuel to the fire of speculation that Boehner’s office put the wheels in motion for Winteregg’s dismissal from Cedarville University. With an endorsement by the Tea Party Leadership Fund PAC, numerous conservative bloggers and lots of grassroots support in his district, it will be interesting to see the outcome of this race tomorrow.
South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy has been officially tapped by the House Republican leadership to serve as chairman of the new Benghazi select committee hearings, Speaker of the House John Boehner announced Monday.
“With four of our countrymen killed at the hands of terrorists, the American people want answers, accountability, and justice,” Boehner said Monday. “Trey Gowdy is as dogged, focused, and serious-minded as they come.”
Gowdy, a former district attorney and federal prosecutor, was elected to Congress as a Republican in 2010 and has been an active voice on the Benghazi attacks of 2012.
“His background as a federal prosecutor and his zeal for the truth make him the ideal person to lead this panel,” Boehner said of Gowdy. “I know he shares my commitment to get to the bottom of this tragedy and will not tolerate any stonewalling from the Obama administration.”
Boehner, who until last week had resisted calls from members of his party to establish a select committee, pledged to give Gowdy “the strongest authority possible to root out all the facts.”
“This is a big job, but Rep. Gowdy has the confidence of this conference, and I know his professionalism and grit will earn him the respect of the American people,” Boehner said.
The Ohio Republican called for the creation of the committee after it became clear last week that the Obama administration had withheld these documents from a Congressional subpoena. The emails indicated that the White House played a bigger role than previously admitted in crafting the now-debunked initial talking points on the attacks that left four Americans dead, including Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya.
Gowdy has played a visible role in the past hearings on the Benghazi attacks as a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, which has held numerous probes into the attacks.
“Speaker Boehner could not have chosen a member more committed to getting the full truth about the before, during, and after of the Benghazi terrorist attacks than Congressman Trey Gowdy,” Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa said Monday after the announcement.
“Trey has been an integral contributor to the Oversight Committee investigation and takes the knowledge we have gained, through subpoenas and individual testimony, to his new role leading the new Select Committee,” Issa said. “I look forward to continuing to work with him as he leads the effort, across committee jurisdictions, to find facts, accountability, and needed reforms.”