Nelson Graves: Scandals, Smandals - Waynesboro News Virginian: Guest Columnists

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Nelson Graves: Scandals, Smandals

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Posted: Thursday, May 23, 2013 7:30 am

I’ve given up hope that Republicans will ever accept Barack Hussein Obama as president of the United States of America. It just isn’t going to happen.

Republicans, especially the tea party faction in and outside the party, have attempted to block or blame Obama for every real and imagined problem America has faced for the last five years.

A quick but limited review of President Obama’s accomplishments: He inherited and overcame, from former President George W. Bush, the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression; managed and ended the war in Iraq (more on it later) while redirecting the war against al Qaeda that was in Afghanistan; placed limited restrictions on America’s financial institutions, including its largest banks; and saved America’s Big Three auto manufacturers.

Obama’s greatest achievements were promoting universal health care for millions of uninsured Americans and capturing and killing Osama bin Laden the mastermind behind the 9-11 attacks. Finally, America’s economy is improving, although at a sluggish pace. However, creating jobs is now Obama’s highest national domestic priority.  

After accomplishing all that, Republican congressional representatives and their leaders having failed to make Obama a one-term president, continue to hold out hope that they can and will bring him down. 

Last week, the Obama Administration was attacked politically by one reoccurring and two new scandals.

The reoccurring scandal: On Sept. 11, 2012, two months before the presidential election, terrorists attacked the Libyan consulate in Benghazi killing our Ambassador and three other Americans. The following Sunday, the White House sent U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to most major morning news shows attributing the attack to a just published anti-Muslim article. Her talking points were subsequently proven false and because of Rice’s factual errors Republicans claimed, and still do, that Obama didn’t want to ruin his re-election chances. 

An ABC News report is what gave the Benghazi attack renewed life and legitimacy as a scandal. The network reported it had obtained damaging emails relative to the Benghazi attack. In essence so claimed ABC, the emails showed the White House manipulated the talking points Rice used when she said the attack wasn’t terrorist inspired.

Last week, in an effort to be more transparent, the Obama Administration released hundreds of email messages to a congressional committee that is investigating what happened in Benghazi.

Later in the week according to Zingularity, “When the WH released the actual emails showing that the purported emails — which it turns out were merely scrawled notes taken by Republican lawmakers/staffers — ABC based their scoop on were, at best, misleading and may have been intentionally cooked by GOP sources.”

The first new scandal – an IRS executive apologized that the agency had placed Republican and tea party 501(c)(4) organizations under tougher scrutiny since 2010. The problem was and is that the practice of just singling out conservative group is illegal. IRS staff used code words “patriot” or “tea party” in deciding which applications to question.

A little background information: A 501(c)(4) non-profit organization is defined as and includes Civic Leagues, Social Welfare Organizations, and Local Associations of Employees. Following Obama’s election in 2008, tea party and patriot political groups sprang up all over the country.

According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, “data contained in the audit released Tuesday from the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration. The number of 501(c)(4) applications for all of 2010 was actually less than in 2009. According to the audit, 1,735 groups applied for 501(c)(4) exemption for the federal fiscal year that ended September 30, 2010—six months after the IRS began its scrutiny. That was down slightly from 1,751 the prior year.

“The number grew to 2,265 during the fiscal year that ended September 30, 2011, and to 3,357 in 2012.” 

On Meet The Press Sunday, a graphic was shown indicating only 8 of the applications in 2012 were denied nonprofit status. To me, the IRS was doing its job.

The final so-called scandal involves the U.S. Department of Justice. News agencies, both liberal and conservative, are outraged that the DOJ listened in on private phone conversations of AP correspondents. reported, “The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative's top executive called a "massive and unprecedented intrusion" into how news organizations gather the news.

“The records obtained by the Justice Department listed outgoing calls for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, for general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and for the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP. It was not clear if the records also included incoming calls or the duration of the calls.”

The story continues, “The government would not say why it sought the records. Officials have previously said in public testimony that the U.S. attorney in Washington is conducting a criminal investigation into who may have provided information contained in a May 7, 2012, AP story about a foiled terror plot.”

As cited in the Benghazi and IRS “scandals,” the DOJ was simply doing its job.

Admittedly, errors in judgment were made in regards to the Benghazi and IRS so-called scandals. But the DOJ was completely within its rights to protect American security.

Instead of wasting taxpayer money by investigating supposed Obama Administration scandals Republicans in congress need to work with him to get Americans back to work.


Nelson Graves, a resident of Augusta County, is an employee of Virginia, a News Virginian columnist. Email him at:

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