Jay Leno gave some advice to President Obama in connection with the burgeoning IRS scandal involving unlawful profiling of Tea Party and other politically conservative groups. Instead of trying to close the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention center, Leno wondered aloud, how about shutting down the tax collecting agency?
In his Tonight Show monologue, Leno had this to say, which was met with thunderous applause: “President Obama says he’s renewing his efforts to close Guantanamo Bay. Guantanamo Bay? How about closing the IRS? Why don’t we do that? How about shipping the IRS to Guantanamo Bay? That’s what we, yes! That’s how you do it.”
Leno (see embed below) then made this observation about the latest Inspector General report — the follow-up to the Tea Party audit — about wasteful IRS spending: “Well, more problems with the IRS. A new report has found that they spent $50 million on employee conferences and retreats in just two years. They would have investigated sooner, but it turns out, you know, they don’t belong to any conservative groups. So nobody really noticed. They didn’t really see it. A little odd, yeah.”
Perhaps because he is in the process of being kicked to the curb by NBC, Leno is seemingly the only late-night comedian that is willing to mock the Obama administration or other liberal sacred cows. In April, Leno also quipped when the Associated Press dropped the “illegal immigrant” terminology, “They will now use the phrase ‘undocumented Democrat.’ ”
As part of the $50 million paid by the taxpayer for employee confabs, the IRS apparently spent about $4 million alone on that infamous Anaheim, Calif., conference for which the equally infamous Star Trek parody video was produced. The agency clams it has clamped down on spending since then. “The conference spending included $4 million for an August 2010 gathering in Anaheim, Calif., for which the agency did not negotiate lower room rates, even though that is standard government practice … Instead, some of the 2,600 attendees received benefits, including baseball tickets and stays in presidential suites that normally cost $1,500 to $3,500 per night. In addition, 15 outside speakers were paid a total of $135,000 in fees, with one paid $17,000 to talk about “leadership through art.”
Separately, several Tea Party leaders gave eloquent and emotional testimony on Capitol Hill yesterday about how they were intimidated and harassed after filing 401(c)(4) tax-exempt applications. See video clips below. Dr. Karen Kenny of the San Fernando Tea Party Patriots noted one of the intrusive questions asked by the IRS requested a list of violations of ordinances, breaches of public order, or arrests. Said Finney, “I think the IRS needs to fix its labeling machine: We’re the San Fernando Valley Patriots, not Occupy Oakland.”
Becky Gerritson of an Alabama Tea Party group declared that her organization was merely engaging in constitutionally protected activities: “We peacefully assemble. We petition our government. We exercise the right to free speech. And we don’t understand why the government tried to stop us. I’m not here as a serf or a vassal. I’m not begging my lords for mercy. I’m a born-free American woman, wife, mother, and citizen.”
What do you think will be the ultimate outcome of the ongoing investigations into IRS abuse?