Daily Archives: June 10, 2013

IRS abuse bad but not a political conspiracy

Lois Lerner, the head of the IRS tax-exempt department, did a bad job overseeing employees and should have immediately told Congress about the targeting of tea party groups, but there is no evidence that the targeting was part of a political conspiracy, wrote Stephen Stromberg of the Washington Post. “Given what we know now, the story that best fits the facts is that IRS employees subordinate to Lerner – in Washington or elsewhere – were involved in some unforgivably stupid behavior, and those above them failed to keep an eye on it,” Stromberg wrote.

Huelskamp steps up for NBAF

When last year’s redistricting landed Manhattan in the 1st Congressional District, many Kansans wondered whether fiscal hawk Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, would advocate for the federal funding needed to build the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in the city. Huelskamp stepped up last week as the House debated a $45 billion Homeland Security spending bill that includes $404 million for NBAF, arguing on the floor that “as a Kansas farmer and rancher, I recognize the critical damage that would be done to our livestock industries if we do not proceed forth with construction of NBAF.” The bill passed over the objection of Rep. Timothy Bishop, D-N.Y., who argued: “This NBAF project is a boondoggle. We don’t even have a shovel in the ground yet and already the cost has gone up by 250 percent. It is not needed.” Not coincidentally, Bishop’s district includes Plum Island, the site of the federal research lab scheduled to be replaced by NBAF.

Getting to know Sebelius

“How well do you know Kathleen Sebelius?” asked a Politico quiz about the former Kansas governor and current secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Among the quiz’s revelations: She was captain of her basketball team and eighth-grade class president. Her favorite band is the Rolling Stones. And she is an in-law of the Rockefellers (her son Edward married Lisa Rockefeller in 2009). Not surprisingly, some Politico readers’ comments didn’t share in the spirit of fun, given how Sebelius has been a lightning rod lately for her implementation of Obamacare and related private fundraising. Regarding a question about Sebelius’ 2002 remark that “the roads in Missouri were much more terrifying to me than the attacks on the World Trade Center” (for which she later apologized), one reader said: “The 9/11 remark is worthy of never putting her in a position of power ever.”