ALG praises Judiciary Committee for taking up E-fairness

March 12, 2014, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens today issued the following statement praising the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Rep. Bob Goodlatte for holding a hearing, “Exploring Alternative Solutions on the Internet Sales Tax Issue”:

“We thank Chairman Goodlatte for taking up the important issue of the E-fairness, returning the rightful power to the states to determine sales tax policy. It is sound from a federalism perspective and from an overall policy standpoint. The unintended consequence of current law is to dictate winners and losers between local and online sales, when it is Congress’ duty to facilitate commerce and remove artificial advantages.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at (703)383-0880 or at media@algnews.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Nathan Mehrens.

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Unemployment situation muddled

March 7, 2014, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens today issued the following statement on the latest jobs numbers:

“The two, distinct surveys that the Bureau of Labor Statistics produces that create the unemployment report continue to produce contradictory information.  The Household report that produces the unemployment rate shows an economy that is dead in the water with a paltry 43,000 more people employed last month, and a stunning 223,000 more people unemployed.  This dismal snapshot of the economy contrasts with the Establishment report where businesses provide the government their hiring statistics, where it is reported that 162,000 private sector jobs were created with a total of 175,000 when government hiring is included.

“Either report individually would lead any rational person to a completely different conclusion of where the economy stands, but when put together, they merely confirm that our nation’s economic situation is murky at best, and with the threat of Obamacare implementation, the threat of a minimum wage increase which is estimated to kill 500,000 more jobs, and the continued war on energy development being conducted by the EPA, it is amazing that the private sector has fought through these government created obstacles to produce even this meager economic stalemate.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at  (703) 383-0880(703) 383-0880  or at media@algnews.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Nathan Mehrens.

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Adegbile fails in Senate

March 5, 2014, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government Nathan Mehrens today issued the following statement praising defeat of Debo Adegbile in the U.S. Senate to head the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division:

“At long last, basic political survival instincts may have taken over for Democratic Senators.  A vote for Abegdile was a near certain political death sentence as evidenced by the endangered Democrats who joined Senate Republicans in opposing his nomination.  Now that Senators are actually listening to voters, perhaps Obamacare can be legally delayed by Congress as opposed to being delayed at the whim of the President.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at (703)383-0880 or at media@algnews.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Nathan Mehrens.

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Fox News and Republican electoral gains cited in 2010 FCC study

Media content monitoring modus operandi at agency.

Feb. 27, 2014, Fairfax, Va.—An Americans for Limited Government review of prior Federal Communications Commission (FCC) studies on media ownership has revealed that media content monitoring is a regular practice at the agency, with one 2010 study even citing Fox News and its impact on Republican electoral gains in selected districts.

“FCC Media Study No. 9: A Theoretical Analysis of the Impact of Local Market Structure on the Range of Viewpoints Supplied,” published by the agency in 2011 authored by Isabelle Brocas, Juan D. Carrillo, and Simon Wilkie in its literature review referenced a 2006 study, “The Fox News Effect” on the political, electoral impact of Fox News in certain regions.

The 2010 FCC study summarized the findings: “indeed there is an impact of the Fox News introduction resulting in a somewhat higher vote for the Republican candidates than would be expected.”

Overall the agency considered how media ownership shapes content and in turn political outcomes: “the ownership of media outlets matters viz-a-viz viewpoint, and that the informational content of a media market can have an effect on how people make decisions such as choosing whether or not to vote and, when they do, who to vote for.”

“Why is the FCC concerned with how media ownership shapes political outcomes, voting behavior, and viewpoint diversity?” asked Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens.

The FCC study’s literature review referenced another report that found that Washington Post subscribers were 8 percent more likely to vote for the Democrat candidate for governor than Washington Times subscribers.

“We conclude the FCC has as a powerful interest in examining the relationship between ownership structure and market performance, in terms of the efficiency of transmission of information and the diversity of viewpoints in the market,” the report stated.

Mehrens questioned the agency’s mission on its face: “With its long history of monitoring media content and its recent foray into newsrooms, it is time for Congress to finally put an end to the FCC’s content evaluation programs and viewpoint diversity mission. The federal government has no business in trying to dictate diversity in the 21st Century media environment that includes traditional and new media sources that were never imagined when the agency was formed.”

“The FCC is supposed to sell spectrum and they should stick to that,” he added, concluding, “With satellite, Internet and streaming technologies, and the ability to transmit today practically limitless, a monopoly on the dissemination of ideas is impossible. The original justification for the agency is now antiquated. There is no legitimate government interest in monitoring media content and viewpoint diversity to control media ownership.”

Of the ten such studies on media ownership that were issued in 2010 by the FCC, at least six looked directly at content or content-based metrics, market preferences, the prevalence of programming for minorities, the implications of national news coverage versus local, and other criteria in determining whether stations were viewpoint diverse enough.

Similar studies were conducted in 2006, and every four years before that.

Every four years the FCC is required to produce “limits on the number of broadcast stations (radio and TV) an entity can own, as well as limits on the common ownership of broadcast stations and newspapers… [and] to determine whether the rules are in the public interest and to repeal or modify any regulation it determines does not meet this criteria,” according to the agency’s website.

In that context, the agency regularly conducts studies on media ownership and how it affects viewpoint diversity. The 2014 review will not be completed until next year.

Attachments:

“Why did the FCC pull its multi-market study monitoring newsroom content?” By ALG Senior Editor Robert Romano, Feb. 27, 2014, at http://netrightdaily.com/2014/02/fcc-pull-multi-market-study-monitoring-newsroom-content/

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at (703)383-0880 or at media@algnews.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Nathan Mehrens.

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ALG urges IRS to withdraw anti-free speech regulations, notes failure to include labor union political spending

More than $772 million in union political expenditures ignored by proposed IRS regulation

Fairfax, VA – Americans for Limited Government president Nathan Mehrens filed comments with IRS Commissioner John Koskinen today urging the withdrawal of newly proposed regulations governing tax exempt social welfare groups, because they fail to treat labor union political expenditures in a similar manner.

Mehrens details more than $772 million in reported labor union expenditures in 2012 alone, which would be ignored under the newly proposed regulations affecting social welfare tax exempt 501(c)(4) organizations.  Labor unions are tax exempt organizations that fall under section 501(c)(5) of the tax code, and for purposes are similar organizations as their social welfare brothers.

The Service Employees International Union led the political spending charge with almost $114 million in political activity, according to official filings submitted to the U.S. Department of Labor.  Not including SEIU and AFL-CIO spending (each of which have significant public employee membership), the top public employee unions spent more than $144 million on political activity and lobbying with AFSCME alone totaling more than $70 million in expenditures.

Mehrens concludes his comment saying, “As demonstrated above, the NPRM (regulation) fails to treat similar organizations in a similar manner. Additionally, the IRS doesn’t even bother to explain why they are proposing to treat similar organizations differently. Based on the foregoing, the NPRM should be immediately withdrawn.”

Among many provisions of the proposed regulation (NPRM), it would highly restrict the ability of tax exempt social welfare groups to mention any politician’s name in any communications within 30 days of the primary election or 60 days of the general election, and it redefines the terms candidate and political activity from the legal definitions found under federal election law.  The net effect of the changes would be to disembowel 501(c)(4) organizations capacity to engage in political discourse and education while leaving labor unions and other tax exempt organizations unscathed.

The deadline for comment submissions on the IRS regulation targeting tea party organizations is Thursday, February 27th.

A copy of Mr. Mehrens comment including a breakdown of the top fifteen union spenders is available here.

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at (703)383-0880 or at media@algnews.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Nathan Mehrens.

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Health care compact would restore control of health insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid to states

Feb. 14, 2014, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens today issued the following statement praising Rep. James Lankford for introducing H.J. Res. 110, legislation that would allow states to enter into an interstate compact to regulate health care on their own without federal interference:

“If New York or California like Obamacare, they can keep it. But if other states want out, there should be no reason they cannot administer federal funds the way they see fit. Americans for Limited Government urge every member of the House to cosponsor Lankford’s bill to restore state control over health care.

“If states want to opt out of federal administration of health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, and the insurance exchanges, they should be allowed to. That is what the health compact will accomplish. The compact will transfer federal control of health care to participating states that choose to adopt the compact. It is not mandatory.”

Attachments:

H.J. Res 110, Feb. 11, 2014 at http://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th/house-joint-resolution/110/text?q={%22search%22:[%22h%20j%20res%20110%22]}

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at (703)383-0880 or at media@algnews.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Nathan Mehrens.

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Clean debt ceiling vote fails to rein in IRS

Feb. 11, 2014, Fairfax, VA.—Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens today issued the following statement responding to a planned vote in the House on a clean debt ceiling this week:

“House Republicans’ decision to vote on a clean debt ceiling in order to win Democrat votes for passage was somewhat predictable, but it is a shame that they couldn’t find common ground among themselves around a desire to stop President Obama’s IRS abuse of power. This is a win for Sen. Harry Reid and the Obama administration.

“The debt ceiling is the last piece of must-pass legislation during this session of Congress, and is the last opportunity for members to deal with IRS targeting before new regulations restricting 501(c)(4)s go into effect. While regular legislative efforts are expected in the House on this important issue, there is no chance that they will become law. We are profoundly disappointed by this failure to rein in IRS abuse.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at (703)383-0880 or at media@algnews.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Nathan Mehrens.

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GOP’s debt ceiling play a waste of the power of the purse

Feb. 11, 2014, Fairfax, VA.—Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens today issued the following statement urging the House of Representatives to reconsider their debt ceiling strategy to include restrictions on the IRS targeting of the tea party and other 501(c)(4) organizations:

“House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan made a huge error in agreeing to cut military pension benefits for the nation’s veterans as a part of the much ballyhooed Ryan-Murray budget deal. Now, Speaker Boehner is desperately trying to pull Chairman Ryan’s political bacon out of the fire by attaching a military pension fix to the upcoming debt ceiling increase, the last piece of must-pass legislation in this session of Congress.

“While Speaker Boehner’s cronies claim that there are not enough House Republican votes to use the debt ceiling to rein in the IRS targeting of conservative groups, he somehow is mustering forces to save Chairman Ryan from future political annihilation by restoring veterans’ pensions. It would be nice if Speaker Boehner had the same concern for the thousands of conservative allies who have been targeted and abused by President Obama’s weaponized IRS.

“It’s time for the House to use its power of the purse to both restore the rightfully earned military pensions and end the IRS abuse of power. Anything less is a dereliction of members’ constitutional duty.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at (703)383-0880 or at media@algnews.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Nathan Mehrens.

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Shrinking workforce participation still cause for concern in jobs report

Feb. 7, 2014, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens today issued the following statement on the latest jobs numbers:

“We learned this week that the Obama Administration views a shrinking workforce participation as a good thing based upon their response to Congressional Budget Office analysis of Obamacare which asserts that more than 2 million people are likely to leave the full-time workforce due to Obamacare.

“The ups and downs of any monthly unemployment report pale in comparison to this startling analysis.  While the labor participation rate shifted upward slightly, it still remains that 3.5 million fewer people who are 16-54 are participating in the workforce compared to January 2009 levels. If they were included in today’s jobs report, the unemployment rate would be 8.6 percent, instead of the reported 6.6 percent.

“The impact of this long term shift in workforce participation remains a real source of concern for the future health of the U.S. economy.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at (703)383-0880 or at media@algnews.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Nathan Mehrens.

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ALG urges Congress to force special counsel in IRS targeting scandal

Feb. 6, 2014, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government Vice President of Public Policy and Communications Richard Manning today issued the following statement urging the House of Representatives to use its power of the purse to force the Attorney General to appoint a special counsel to investigate the IRS tea party targeting scandal:

“Congressman Jim Jordan earned the nation’s respect today for holding a hearing highlighting the IRS abuses against conservative oriented social welfare groups.  It was astonishing to hear Democrats on the Committee continue to deny the obvious weaponization of government experienced by these Americans triggered for no other reason than their decision to formally engage in the political process.

“It is truly embarrassing that these Democrats, who purport to support democracy and involvement, would make excuses and even go so far as to attack those who have already been victimized once.

“Fortunately, Catherine Engelbrecht of True the Vote and Becky Gerritson of Wetumpka Tea Party in Alabama continue to refuse to be victims and will not be silenced.  Their efforts, along with outstanding members of Congress like Mr. Jordan have brought the Obama Administration’s obvious abuse of power to the national spotlight.

“Last year, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal called for a special counsel to investigate and prosecute these egregious abuses of power that threaten the fabric of our representative democracy.  That call was echoed today by Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina.  It is clear that the Justice Department is stonewalling any legitimate investigation and there is no longer any excuse for denying a legitimate independent investigation of these blatant attacks on the fundamental right to dissent.

“To force the issue, Congress using its power of the purse should stop all attempts by the IRS to impose new regulations governing social welfare groups, and additionally force a full investigation into these abuses by a special counsel.”

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at (703)383-0880 or at media@algnews.org to arrange an interview with ALG experts including ALG President Nathan Mehrens.

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