Editor’s note: Below is the video and transcript of the panel discussion “ObamaGate: Obama’s Scandals & the Totalitarian Future,” which took place at the Freedom Center’s 2013 Restoration Weekend. The event was held November 14th-17th at The Breakers resort in Palm Beach, Florida.
Brian Calle: So let’s get right into this.
Our first panelist you all know. J. Christian Adams is truly just stupendous in his work. As a Department of Justice official, he handled voter intimidation and military voter protection. And he’s the author of a very interesting book, “Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of the Obama Justice Department.” So I’m going to let him open up the panel.
J. Christian Adams: Thank you very much.
Thank you all. And thanks for having me, David, Michael, and the rest of the Horowitz Center.
Let me tell you something that’s very simple to understand. I frequently have people ask me — when are we finally going to get Obama? Is this the scandal that’s going to do it? People will be outraged about this.
But what I’m here to tell you today is the scandals are features; they are not glitches in the software They are part of the underlying ideological foundation of this administration. And hence they have to be treated entirely differently than scandals of the past. Combat has to be delivered to the ideological foundation that produces the scandals.
Let me go through some particulars. When I worked at the Justice Department voting section during the Bush Administration, I saw how the law was sort of like a fence. Whatever we did had to be within those four corners of what the law said. But after the inauguration, the law became a mere suggestion on the way to a progressive destination. It completely changed the paradigm of how the administration functions.
Now, you saw this manifest first, perhaps, in the New Black Panther dismissal that I was a part of. And at the time, it seemed like an anomaly — why on earth would you dismiss a case against these radical, racist, anti-Semitic Black Panthers with billy clubs in front of a polling place? But once again, it’s a feature; it was not a glitch. It was representative of a worldview that people like that can’t be voter intimidators.
And you saw Holder in front of the House Judiciary Committee being grilled — I’m sorry, the House Oversight Committee — being grilled. And when he said — you need to understand the history of my people, that was a quote in relation to the Black Panther dismissal. These are features; they’re not glitches.
Now, what were scandals in any other era in American history would be completely overwhelmed by press coverage. Let’s look at some of them.
Fast and Furious — Fast and Furious was at its core an antigun program set up to create a media narrative that guns are bad; we need to crack down on gun shops along the border. It’s a feature, not a glitch, that that program went awry. Because it was ultimately an anti-Second Amendment crusade.
The IRS scandal, which you’ll hear more about — that again — it’s not a glitch; it’s a feature. It’s a fundamental opposition to Citizens United, a fundamental opposition that permeates this administration to free speech. And so, the IRS scandal was merely a manifestation of this view. It wasn’t some sort of quirky occurrence. It’s how people in these worldviews exercise power.
Benghazi — once again, feature, not a glitch. It was an effort to keep a small footprint in Libya, because they didn’t want to offend certain Muslim and Islamic interests around the world.
The tax on voter ID — people think this is nuts. You’re going after Texas, North Carolina voter ID, South Carolina. Once again, it’s a feature. These cases are coming out of the hostility toward any election integrity measure. Anything that increases the integrity of our elections is ideologically opposed in the most vehement terms inside the Justice Department, where I used to work.
The catch-and-release program for illegals crossing the border. It’s not some quirky new thing that everybody is caught and set free. It’s a feature. It’s an ideological feature, not a glitch.
Now, why does it matter whether something’s a feature or a glitch? It matters because your response is different to each one. When you have a software program with a glitch, you call tech support. When you have a software program with a bad feature, you don’t buy it in the first place. Okay? And so, the Republicans have got to stop treating these things like glitches, where the chief weapon is the strongly worded letter; and start treating them like features.
Now, I will give a tremendous amount of applause to Louie Gohmert. I saw Representative Trent Franks here last night. These are two guys who get it. Louie Gohmert and Trent Franks understand that these are features, not glitches, and they’re acting accordingly.
But they won’t enforce federal law as it relates to voter integrity issues. We had an election, folks, this last election, where there were four million ineligible voters on the voter rolls. Four million. And this is according to Pew, which is hardly a rightwing conspiracy outfit. And the Justice Department won’t do anything to clean up this, even though they have the power to do it.
We had one out of every eight voter records in the last election, according to Pew, had errors in it. But once again, it’s not a glitch the Justice Department won’t enforce the law to clean up the voter rolls; it’s a feature.
Now, let me close on two very important things you folks need to understand that’s happening — process matters to the Left. When it comes to elections, they know the ground rules of elections alter outcomes. Take a look at Texas. They know that if they stop Texas voter ID that an effort called Battleground Texas will be more successful in its effort to transform Texas to be a blue state. And they’re focusing on the Rio Grande Valley to do this. And once they get Texas as a blue state, it’s game over. There won’t be another electoral victory.
But look at Colorado. Colorado is perhaps the most glaring example of this, and it’s gotten very little attention. Colorado, of course, went all blue in the last election. And they decided to pass a radical new election process law. Now, most of you go vote either absentee, or you go to a precinct. In Colorado, from now on, they’re going to mail every single person on the voter rolls — whether they ask for it or not — a regular ballot. A regular ballot automatically. On top of that, they’re converting inactive voters to active status by statute. So these are people who have moved away, who are dead, who don’t live there anymore. Colorado has eight counties with more registered voters than people alive.
Okay? Now, match that with the all-mail auto-ballot, and you can see what’s going to happen. These, folks, are features; they’re not glitches. It’s part of an effort to fundamentally transform the country using process rules. Because they know if they pump 100,000, 200,000 bogus ballots into the system, into apartment complexes, they’re going to get a different election outcome.
So let me close with that. And thank you all very much for having me. And so good to meet so many of you here, as it always is. Thank you.
Brian Calle: All right, Christian. If we’re a minute over the panel, it’s your fault.
J. Christian Adams: I know.
Brian Calle: And you’re late for your plane.
Next, we’re going to talk with Catherine Engelbrecht. She’s the President of True the Vote and a tireless advocate of election reform. Catherine?
Catherine Engelbrecht: Thanks very much. Thanks so much for inviting me to be here. Thanks to all of you for coming to listen to such a warm opening panel to make you feel special and fuzzy all day long about totalitarianism.
Last night at dinner, I was thinking, during the presentation of the Annie Taylor Awards, I was very privileged, as was Christian the year previous. You got it in 2010, right?
J. Christian Adams: Yes.
Catherine Engelbrecht: In 2010. And I received the Annie Taylor Award in 2011.
In 2010, I started an organization called True the Vote, and filed — among other things that we did in 2010, I filed for nonprofit status in July. When I was at the podium receiving that award, and receiving it as a result of efforts that we had undertaken as an organization — not for what was happening personally, but as an organization, True the Vote, through our attempts to train and mobilize poll watchers through our work in trying to identify anomalies in the voter rolls and turn those things over to appropriate authorities at the state and county level, and try to get the rolls cleaned up, trying to educate and advocate for common-sense election code reform — that set off a firestorm, not only in Texas, where I hail from, but also across the country.
What was happening behind the scenes, when I was receiving that award two years ago here, was something that I wasn’t telling anyone. You see, in 2011 alone, my husband and I were audited four times — twice personally, twice for private interests for the companies that we have. We were met with six inquiries from the FBI. And that was just 2011. I mean, this government was just getting started. To date, we’ve had 25 different either audits or investigations or inquiries from five different government agencies.
People ask — how do you deal with that? How do you wrap your head around such an invasion, such targeting? I’m going to tell you, this administration is trying to silence truth tellers. It is not an accident.
I’ve gone through all the mental gymnastics that you have to grapple with when you are on the receiving end of that first audit. You think — well, maybe I drew the short straw. And then, the second audit, you think — that was a really short straw.
And then, you start going through agencies. Then it becomes the FBI. Then it becomes Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. Then it becomes OSHA. Then it becomes the Texas branch of the EPA, something called the TCEQ.
It was the second BATF audit — and I’m very privileged to know that fellow panelists here, and Christian and Cleta, have been stalwart supporters of True the Vote. And Cleta and I were already — Cleta and her firm were responsible for helping us try to push back against the IRS in our nonprofit application because they kept asking question after question after question; questions like — what are your political aspirations? We want to see every Facebook posting you ever posted, every tweet you’ve ever tweeted. We want to know everywhere you’ve ever spoken since the inception of your organization, and to whom, and what you said, and where you intend to speak through 2013.
Are those questions germane to whether or not we’re a nonprofit organization? Really?
We submitted thousands of documents to the IRS under Cleta’s guidance. And she watched as all of these other agencies continued to attack, attack. And Cleta said — why don’t you say something? I said — you know, I just — I don’t know that it’s the time. And frankly, I was concerned about the security of my family. What the government was doing in its agency assault was really only one level. There’s an awful lot that still hasn’t been revealed publicly. And because Christian will miss his plane, I can’t tell you.
J. Christian Adams: I’ll miss it.
Catherine Engelbrecht: But it was the second BATF — Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms — audit. When they came out again — mind you, we have a federal firearms license to manufacture gun parts. That’s the business my husband and I are in. We have a small manufacturing company. We have that license. We’ve never made a single gun part. And BATF knows that very well, because you’ve got to file reports that state as much.
So when they came out for the second time and had us open our safes and take out the guns, and write the serial numbers down and such, I called Cleta. And I said — that’s it. Who can we sue? How fast can we sue them? The gloves are off.
And it was at that point that we moved forward in our lawsuit against the IRS. And I’ll let Cleta address that. But I’ll say this much about that lawsuit and about the general state of affairs of my personal life, and why it would be that True the Vote seems to matter so greatly to this administration.
They do not scare me. They should scare none of you; they’re bullies. The one thing they don’t count on is that we will stand our ground. If they think that what they are doing is going to make us back up, in my particular case, I can tell you, they have picked the wrong chick.
Brian Calle: Are you done?
Catherine Engelbrecht: Well, you know, because we’re running out of time, there’s one little thing, and maybe it’ll come in questions. So somebody ask me this question and develop this a little more fully.
But a lot of what this has been about, I believe, for the purposes of True the Vote, is to keep us from meddling in a playground that has long been the province of the far Left. They do not want people that recognize the value of integrity or that demand that a standard of honor be acknowledged, that ask the tough questions. That doesn’t play well into their plan.
And I submit to you, ladies and gentlemen, that I think we are seeing one of the biggest plays to date by this administration play out in elections through Obamacare. When I saw that that website failed — you heard —
Brian Calle: Dr. Carson.
Catherine Engelbrecht: — Dr. Carson — I was going to say Carlton, right — Dr. Carson last night say that you should read “Rules for Radicals.” You absolutely should. Because when you read it, you understand exactly what’s happening. And they don’t make mistakes.
I’ll wrap this up. When that website failed, something told me that a presidential campaign that had found its way to victory twice by relying on the most sophisticated technology we have ever seen — that has in his sort of kitchen cabinet the who’s-who of Facebook and Google — the thought that they would put forward a website that would fail — you can’t convince me that that was not an engineered occurrence. They have to date processed 26,794 applications through the Federal Exchange. Put that in context — Google gets 50,000 hits a second. A second. So they can’t process south of 27,000 in six weeks? Something’s afoot.
And what is afoot is that they don’t really care about the public exchange. They have been very, very diligent behind the scenes working to develop 50 strong pipes into the states to make sure that Medicaid cases can be funneled straight through in digital packages that include — thanks to the NVRA, National Voter Registration Act, also known as Motor Voter, penned by Francis Fox Piven and Richard Cloward, that now has to mandate that you must register voters — they are celebrating these new additions to the voter rolls.
And the way it will play out is that, I believe, we will see an implosion at the state level because they will be unable to process the numbers of cases that are being transferred to them. That implosion will lead to federalization. And again, to come back with this morning’s theme of totalitarianism, the federalization will be the natural outcome if the states can no longer support the weight of the system.
And then, all the other things that have been circling around, like universal voter registration — like national popular vote, which was marginalized for quite some time and may now be rearing its head — moves us quickly to a place where there are no more state boundaries, where we’re just sort of one big, amorphous mob of voter registrants. And who better to lead us through that process than this administration?
So be very mindful of what (inaudible) thank you.
Brian Calle: Thank you, Catherine.
Let’s move on to Eliana Johnson, who was a producer at Fox News, as you all know, but also is now the media editor at National Review.
Eliana Johnson: Thanks.
I come at this from a slightly different perspective, which is from reporting on the IRS scandal and working with sources in the IRS and at the House Oversight Committee. I’ve gone in and read all of the interviews that are available with the IRS officials involved in the scandal.
And the issue, I think, is one that not as many people are talking about. And that is the politicization of the bureaucracy. The targeting of conservative groups preceded the Obama Administration. And the issue is the enormous power of a couple of top-level but by no means well-known bureaucrats to, in this case, target conservative groups. And what do you do about this?
I don’t hear very many people talking about it, but I don’t know what the answer to that is. Because as you saw with Lois Lerner, it took months and months and months for her in the end to resign, with her pension — you know, a six-figure pension, which she got to keep. And as far as I know, everybody else involved in that scandal has gotten to keep his job, or to resign. And these people who were involved, I don’t think, have really — nobody knows their names, they haven’t really been shamed.
And so, that to me is a much bigger and more problematic issue than this administration. It will go on after. The people who tend to work in government, I think, are highly political people, and that’s a problem.
The second issue that I saw come up with this scandal is that Democrats very effectively made it into an issue of — this is only a scandal if the White House picked up the phone and ordered the IRS to target Tea Party groups. As I mentioned, that would surely have been a scandal. But this is a scandal that the White House and all Democrats should’ve been concerned about, whether or not the White House had a direct line into the IRS.
You know, in some ways, it’s far more problematic to have bureaucrats entrenched in the government who preceded the Obama Administration and who will stay there long after, with the power to do these sorts of things to conservatives or to liberals. That should concern the Obama Administration. And who is out there asking them what they plan to do about it?
And the final thing that I haven’t heard very many people talking about is — in terms of the involvement of Obama’s top officials, these people were called before Congress, and they were asked — when did you find out that these groups were being targeted? In almost every case, Timothy Geithner, his deputy, they said — I found out when the Inspector General, Russell George — who I’m sure all of you saw testify many times before Congress — he said — we found out in 2011 or 2012, when Russell George came to us and told us he was conducting this audit, which became public. And that’s what really allowed the American people to know that this was a big scandal.
So a year before that report was made public, all the top officials in the Treasury Department knew that he was investigating the targeting of Tea Party groups. And what they told Congress was — we did our job, we didn’t interfere with the investigation.
In my mind, you know, if I were a top official somewhere and I knew that people in the IRS may be politically discriminating against liberal groups or conservative groups, I would want to make sure that that stopped happening. And I haven’t heard anybody say — what did you do, did you do anything do make sure it stopped?
Clearly, nobody in the administration, these top officials, did anything to put that targeting to an end. In fact, it continued long after the scandal broke, until the President put in another person to head the IRS. And he issued a report that the targeting went on, you know, for weeks after the scandal broke.
So I haven’t seen Tim Geithner or anybody else called on the carpet by anybody for, I think, failing in their duties to do anything to put an end to malfeasance by their underlings in the IRS.
So these are just a few of the issues, I think, that conservatives in this case have let slide on the IRS scandal and that are, I think, more troubling than what President Obama or the Obama Administration were doing and that will go on long after he is gone.
Brian Calle: Thank you.
Now, we’ll move along to Charles Johnson, write and author. You’ve seen his work in The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register — my favorite paper.
And he has an uncanny ability, it seems to me, to get links on the Drudge Report. He’s also, at his young age, the author of “Why Coolidge Matters.” Charles?
Charles Johnson: Thanks so much for having me.
Now, the country is going to hell, but I’m having a hell of a time.
And you know, this panel is a bit of a downer. So let me just say that one of my kind of ways that I make money is every time somebody clicks on one of my articles, I get a penny. And so what happens is that I have an incentive to go and find documents, many of which I find online or through basic computer programming; many of which are provided to me by sources — and I’ve been finding that the business of busting corruption is actually quite a good business. So thank you, President Obama, for creating at least one job.
I must say that we need to understand that hope — which is what we were promised — is not exactly readily apparent. But we should not tend to despair. You know, my priest often tells me that despair is the ultimate sin because it presumes that God is done with you. And there are an awful lot of us that are very despairing and dark and dreary.
So let me give you one example — and there are many. I mean, I could talk about Obamacare. I could really wonk out on this panel, but it’s probably not a good idea on a Saturday morning. But let me give you one example of where we won, and where it was quite easy to win.
So, I know that many of you know that we were about to go to war in Syria, and that there were many people kind of beating the drums for us going to war in Syria. And one such person was a 26-year-old Syria analyst named Elizabeth O’Bagy. So she wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed article. She said that all these Islamists that were in Syria, who were cutting people’s heads off and doing all sorts of unsavory things — that they were a bunch of moderates.
And this struck me as kind of odd. Because I’d seen videos. And you know, as we’ve learned from James O’Keefe, the video doesn’t really lie.
And so I called her on her cell phone and asked her how it came to be that she wrote this op-ed. And I talked to her for a little bit and found out that she was being paid by the pro-Syrian rebels group. I wrote it up. It got on the — hit the banner of Drudge Report. Liberals started claiming that they were the ones who had found it. So that’s usually when you know you win.
And it went viral. And she lost her job with both the neoconservative think tank she was working for and the Syrian Emergency Task Force, which was a pro-Islamist group that was receiving money from the Saudis and the Qataris, and all sorts of other unsavory characters.
And so, she was then hired by John McCain afterwards —
— which should give you a sense of the character of John McCain. But we won that one. And I did that entire article, by the way, from beginning — at 8:30 in the morning to 11:00 in the early morning, entirely in my pajamas from my kitchen table, drinking green tea.
Catherine Engelbrecht: You’re one of those pajama-class bloggers.
Charles Johnson: Yes. That’s right. So we can actually win on these issues. And I would submit to you that there are lots of people in this room — many of them very successful, many of them who have had brushes and dealings with the government that has basically become a tyranny. But if you’re living in a system, as Solzhenitsyn said, where everyone’s lying, the way you win is you tell the truth.
And so, many of you have come to me. And I’ll be doing at least a few articles out of meeting people here. But we can actually roll back some of the administrative state.
And I would give just one more quick example of another victory that we had recently, which is the Veterans Memorial. Now, I got a document showing that the White House actually knew about these World War II veterans who were coming to — wanting to come, having honorably served, wanted to come to their memorial. And I found out that the White House were the ones denying them access. I got the document, I wrote up the article. Took my 15 minutes. Wrote it up, banner of Drudge.
And what ended up happening? Obama was, you know, not allowing these people, like my grandfather, who was a rear admiral and who won the Navy Cross — they weren’t allowing people like him to actually have access to their memorials. We kind of shifted the narrative on the shutdown.
See, what the Left really wants you to do is they want you to feel hopeless. They want you to feel like you’re going to lose, that there’s this whole demographic coalition of people that are coming along that are going to replace you. And they’re going to take the wealth, and they’re going to spread it around. That’s what they want you to think.
And so, don’t submit, don’t give up. And don’t despair. And happy to take questions later about some of my other reporting.
Brian Calle: Thank you.
And last, but certainly not least, Cleta Mitchell, who is — as we all know, she practices political law in Washington, DC. Handled two cases against the IRS, dealing with these scandals. And prior to that, she was in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Cleta?
Cleta Mitchell: Thank you.
Well, I’m going to tell you a little bit about what we are doing to continue the fight against the IRS. And in fact, at just a few moments before midnight last night, we filed our responses to the government’s motion to dismiss. I’ll talk to you about that in just a second.
But I like to think of — look, I mean, I practice political law. I say my day job is that I’m the consigliore to the Vast Rightwing Conspiracy and proud of it.
And I began to realize, really in 2010 — late 2009 and 2010 — that there was something going on with the IRS. Because these applications for exempt status were not getting processed. Usually, it takes three or four — maybe 30 days to get a C4. And maybe a little bit longer, two months, for a C3 application to be processed and granted. And I was beginning to get — submitting applications for organizations, and it was taking — well, my first real inkling was a group that I submitted an application for in October of 2009. IRS cashed our check. Because you do pay them to preview your application. And they cashed the check within 30 days, and we never heard another word.
And when I did finally hear from the IRS, it was not from those rogue agents in Cincinnati; it was from the Washington, DC office. And that organization has done one thing since it was formed in the fall of 2009. Guess what that was? It was a 501(c)(4) application, and they were doing grassroots lobbying against Obamacare. That’s all they were doing. They did not one bit of political work.
In June of 2010, the IRS demanded to know all the ads that this organization had run against Obamacare. That’s the first thing we heard from them.
And fast-forward to the spring of 2011, when I met Catherine Engelbrecht, who told me — we’ve been now waiting for six months, and we haven’t gotten either our C4 application or our C3 application processed; we’ve heard nothing. We supplemented in the fall of 2011. And I was told by — I call these IRS agents our parole officers, because you check in with them regularly and tell them how you’re doing and all.
And so I asked this guy in Cincinnati — I told him that Catherine in True the Vote had asked us to supplement, and we were trying to see what we could do to expedite — you know, it’s kind of hard to use the word “expedite” in the same sentence as something that’s been pending for 18 months, that ought to take 30 days — but that we were going to be supplementing the application for True the Vote.
Because we wanted to show — one of the things I wanted to — a lot of times, when you’re dealing with the government — those of you all who deal with the government, you know this — that if you can tell some bureaucrat — here are all the prior decisions your agency has made that would support what it is we’re trying to do, so that they don’t have to go look anything up — that it’s just right there, you do their homework for them — here’s your term paper, honey, just use it, plagiarize it, take it. So we’re getting to be submitting it.
And as Catherine said, you have to understand, you have to understand, that these groups were a threat to this administration. They were a threat to the election process. And there was an intension — this was not accidental. And particularly, when you think about True the Vote, we have one organization on our side, one, that was formed by Catherine Engelbrecht to fight for voter integrity, and to really do something, not just talk about it.
I was president of an organization that likes to talk about it. But when I tried to get them to do something about it, it scared them to death. And so I know the difference between talking and doing.
And she and True the Vote became a huge threat to the Left. And what she didn’t tell you is about how Obama’s lawyer wrote a memorandum singling out True the Vote by name as a menace. That was sent out by the Democratic National Committee that True the Vote was a menace. Because, of course, they have hundreds and thousands of volunteers nationwide who are trying to ensure the integrity of the election. And that is pretty scary to the Left.
Meanwhile, on the other side — and I have to tell you this — if you have not written a check to True the Vote, shame on you. Because the Left is well funded. They have dozens of organizations on the left.
The first time I ever met Christian Adams was in the fall of 2008. Because he was at the Justice Department. And he called me and said that the Justice Department — the Bush Justice Department — was having a meeting, bringing in all these groups to talk about the election process and ensuring, you know, the smoothness of the process, blah-blah-blah. And Christian was out scrounging around to try to find someone who could come as a conservative.
And I go to this meeting, which has the Attorney General, for Pete’s sake, and all these dignitaries from the Justice Department, and 40 groups, and I’m it. And Christian and I had to come up with one group that I could say I was representing to get me in the door. And at the time, I was chairman of the American Conservative Union Foundation. I was also head of the National Republican Alliance. Christian’s — oh no, you can’t use that. It has to be something else that’s not partisan. And I go, and there are all these people who are Democratic, leftist advocates, who are 501(c)(3) groups involved in election activity protection, or whatever they call themselves.
So you have to understand that Catherine was a real threat, is a real threat. And this is not made up. She was named by name through an organization — members of Congress sent letters to the IRS demanding that something be done to stop these Tea Party groups, these organizations, these 501(c)(3)s and C4s. And Catherine’s group was named by name.
So I consider that this litigation is — I represent, through the ActRight Legal Foundation, which is a conservative public interest law firm — and we have these wonderfully smart young lawyers — but our goal is — this [is] the naming names project. This is what we’re doing. And I want to tell you, we have sued, on behalf of True the Vote, the IRS. And we have sued Lois Lerner. We’ve sued Holly Paz. Holly Paz is the Where’s Waldo of this IRS scandal. She was everywhere, and everywhere. Or maybe she was the Forrest Gump — she’s in all the pictures.
She was a maxed-out Obama donor, which is not easy to do on a government salary, right? But she was sort of the top deputy to Lois Lerner. And when they first, quote, learned about there was perhaps this targeting back in 2012, and Steven Miller and Lois Lerner — they did this sort of internal review — who did they dispatch to work on this, to find out about this, but Holly Paz? Polly Paz, whatever her name is.
And she’s a leftist in the IRS. And they dispatched her to try to get fact-finding. Well, guess what? When the Inspector General started to do his investigation after Congress called for the investigation, guess who sat in on every interview that the Inspector General’s Office conducted? Holly Paz! And she was reporting back.
So you’ve got these employees, and this Inspector General’s asking these questions. And who’s sitting there but the person who’s going to report back to Lois Lerner?
So, we sued Steven Miller, who I think lied to Congress. He was the acting IRS commissioner. He knew within moments after Doug Shulman, the then commissioner, had told Congress there was no targeting, he knew that was a lie.
We’ve sued William Wilkins, who is the chief counsel to the IRS, the only political appointee and the former counsel to Jeremiah Wright; Michael Seto, Cindy Thomas, Ron Bell, Faye Ng, Janine Estes, Susan Maloney and Steven Grodnitzky. So those are the names.
And we are going to do, through this IRS litigation — we’ve filed these. The IRS has taken the position, and these defendants have taken the position legally, and this is what we filed last night, saying — surely, that’s not the state of the law in America that they can’t be sued, no matter what they do. The IRS can’t be sued? Nope. And the individuals can’t be sued? Nope. Because we’re the IRS.
And I want to tell you something. This is an important legal principle. Because if it in fact — if we’re going to take this to the highest court we can get it to, and if in fact it is the state of the law in America today that you could be an IRS employee and you can violate the statutes, and you can violate the constitutional rights of the taxpayers, and there’s nothing, there’s no remedy — I actually think that’s something the people ought to know. I think that’s something we ought to know, and it’s something Congress needs to do something about. I don’t think that’s the stated law.
And you’ll be happy to know that we the taxpayers are paying for their defense. I knew you’d like that part.
We’ve also filed another case. And then I’ll stop.
Speaking of naming names, there are two things that — if you really want to get the Left going nutzo, just make them foam at the mouth, talk about voter ID and election integrity, and talk about marriage. Talk about traditional marriage. They hate that. I represent both of those groups.
In March of 2012, we woke up one day — I represent the National Organization for Marriage — we woke up one day to discover our confidential donor schedule posted on the website of the Human Rights Campaign. And knew fairly quickly, because this is these genius eight-year-olds that know how to do computer stuff — they should hire some of those eight-year-olds for healthcare.gov — but who were able to take off these attempted redactions to show that this was indeed the official document released by the IRS — I mean, it was the one that we had filed with the IRS. Our 2008 — it was NOM’s 2008 donor schedule.
What happened in 2008, people? Proposition 8. NOM races spent a lot of money on Prop 8 in 2008. And so we immediately demanded — it’s a felony to release confidential taxpayer information, right? Do you think the IRS would be on our side? Do you think the Department of Justice would be on our side? It’s not hard to figure out who did this. All they have to do is find out — because every IRS employee has a code, and they have to have access — they access information.
Catherine Engelbrecht: Well, I would just add, what happened in 2012 is Mitt Romney was running for President, and he had donated to NOM in 2008.
So it was more closely calculated then.
Cleta Mitchell: Oh no, that’s —
Catherine Engelbrecht: They went back four years to find that and release it in 2012.
Cleta Mitchell: And it was released the day — it was released right after Romney had become the presenting nominee, and the day before the head of the Human Rights Campaign was announced as one of the national cochairmen of the Obama Reelection Campaign. Yes, it’s all tied together.
So we asked for an investigation. And the IRS has conducted an investigation. I mean, the TIGTA — the Treasury Inspector General — conducted an investigation to find out who in the IRS had released NOM’s confidential taxpayer information. They won’t tell us. You know why? They interpret the law that protects the taxpayer from unauthorized release of your information as actually protecting whoever got into it and broke the law. That’s their interpretation. It’s a little convoluted.
So we have filed suit on behalf of NOM against the IRS to find out the name — what’s the name. But Eliana, two weeks ago, broke a story, which I should let her tell you about, which is that it didn’t go directly — and we did not know this, because of course they won’t tell us anything — it did not go directly from the IRS employee to the Human Rights Campaign and the Huffington Post. It went first to a gay activist, who then in turn turned it over to the Huffington Post and the HRC. And now we know his name.
And of course, it is a felony. And one must ask why haven’t either of these individuals been prosecuted.
So, look. I mean, people ask me what is the point of suing the IRS. The point is because we want to name names. We want to get the facts, we want to get to discovery. We want to know what they knew and when they knew it. We know that the White House called publicly for the IRS to do something about conservative groups. And they did. And we’re going to get to the bottom of it.
Brian Calle: Just out of curiosity — and this is obviously an embarrassing question for some — but how many in the audience have been audited? Oh, wow. Yeah, I have, too. And for 2010 and 2011. That’s actually a pretty substantial number. Those of you in the front — I would say, what 10, 15 percent of the audience, at least, raised their hands?
Cleta Mitchell: And I didn’t even get into the — I think that that is the other great part of this scandal that we were really trying to figure out how to get our arms around. Because I absolutely believe that conservative donors — people who gave money, particularly people who raised money — have been audited. And I definitely think that there is — I know the Ways and Means Committee said they were going to look into that. But —
Brian Calle: Yeah, I’m not going to name names, but a donor on the board of a couple of conservative nonprofits — only gives to conservative nonprofits — showed me his list of donors — had been audited. And it was all conservative organizations, nine or 10 of them.
Charles Johnson: Yeah. I wrote a short booklet called “The Truth About the IRS Scandal.” And the day after it was announced it was being published, I received a letter from the IRS.
I was a little disappointed, though, because they got all my friends, and I wasn’t included, and it seemed kind of odd.
But I would just say that one of the ways that they’d doing the targeting, which is what I talk about in the booklet, is the very same firm that Edward Snowden worked for, Booz Allen Hamilton, which is this contracting firm — they design a Google-like thing for the IRS. So you can type in “tea party.” You can type in, you know, “patriot” or whatever. And it’ll pull back people’s IRS returns. And they have this whole, elaborate system; it’s really kind of interesting and intricate. But one of the things we might consider is naming our things after leftwing organizations, just to maybe give the false flag (multiple speakers).
Brian Calle: That’s a good idea.
You know, we talked a lot about the IRS. We talked a little bit about Obamacare. But we haven’t really dove into the NSA, which I think is a huge scandal. And we haven’t really talked a lot about Benghazi. And so, keeping those in context — because I think all of these are equally important scandals — is President Obama the new Teflon President? Because there seems to be a scandal a week. Or, like Ann Coulter said yesterday, it’s Christmas — every day there’s a new scandal, for her. But is he the new Teflon President?
Cleta Mitchell: Well, I want to say something about that. Because I think it’s important to understand. When Lois Lerner made her ham-handed announcement — I want you to think about this for a moment — it’s May of this year, it was a Friday afternoon. Every year, she speaks to this group. And she planted a question, because she knew that the TIGTA report was coming out the following week that would say yes, there was targeted conservative groups.
She made this announcement on Friday afternoon and said, you know, it was a couple of rogue agents in Cincinnati. And then she said — we apologize. And they thought — and I have spoken to people who work in that office, in what we would call in the private sector the C Suite; I don’t know what you call it in the IRS. But they thought because of the way that all these other scandals had been treated by the press, which was basically totally disregarding, that they really had a theory that if she did this on Friday afternoon, it would over, and that would be it. And they had no reason to believe that anything else was going to happen.
And they really thought that the Teflon President, the way this media — they were shocked by the media firestorm created by this announcement. And if you’ll remember, on Monday, Steven Miller, then acting commissioner, decided oh, my goodness, they probably need to do something. So it was [on] Monday. Now, she said this on Friday. On Monday, he writes an op-ed that’s published on Tuesday — [yes, basically] denying that it had happened. That was the same day that the report was released.
So they really — these agencies and bureaucrats who are foot soldiers in the leftist, progressive movement — too many of them — really thought that — they really believed that the media would be complicit and would protect them.
Brian Calle: Any other thoughts?
Charles Johnson: I mean, I would say, no, it’s just a question of numbers. I mean, there are basically 10 conservative journalists in the country, two or three of which are on this panel, in terms of actually breaking stories. We spend a lot of time on the right complaining, and being the alternative media. And we’re constantly critiquing what MSNBC — I don’t own a television, so I don’t even know what’s on MSNBC.
Brian Calle: Al Sharpton.
Charles Johnson: Yeah. So what we spend all of our time doing is we spend our time criticizing. But we don’t — what the Left did, when they wanted to take over the insurance market, was they got somebody like an Ezra Klein, who — all he did every day was go in and study insurance markets. And then he went in and briefed the White House on how to take over the healthcare industry. And now he’s at the Washington Post.
And so, you got to understand, there are very few of us, and there are very many of them. And so, it’s amazing kind of what the few of us have been able to actually accomplish, given the numbers against us.
But I don’t think he’s a Teflon President. I just don’t think we’ve invested enough on research and on — we spend too much kind of focus on ideology and elections, and leftists spend all their time on systems and process. And we should spend more time considering those kind of things as well.
Eliana Johnson: Yeah. I would just add, Charles and I have talked a lot about the need for real journalists in the conservative movement who break news. There aren’t very many of them. But there is a tremendous need for that. Because there isn’t very much attention given to breaking news and to real stories, and attention given to that. But I found, in reporting on the IRS, I was amazed at how much there was to [define], and how the lack — I didn’t know if it was bias or stupidity. Because I found just so much news in documents that were readily available online that wasn’t reported.
So with Lois Lerner, for example, I was just able to go on the Oversight Committee’s website and read letters that she’d sent to the committee in years past, and basically find that, you know, it was pretty obvious she had lied to Congress; and what her history was. That was totally ignored by the media but was stuff that people were very interested in, and that I don’t think really — nobody else was doing.
And the other, I would say, frustrating thing was in terms of going on TV during that. I went on with conservative hosts. And I often found myself arguing against them. Because they weren’t based in the facts, either. There’s very little fact-based journalism going on in the conservative movement. And I think, as Charles suggested, we need more of that.
Catherine Engelbrecht: I would say that, again, to quote Saul Alinsky, the ends justify the means. And when we think about the scandals that we’re seeing, I don’t believe that this administration even sees them as scandals. I think they see them as mile markers.
And whatever it takes, they are counting on Americans having a very short attention span. They are counting on Americans, by and large, choosing with greater and greater frequency not to vote. Because — well, for a number of reasons. But at the top of that list is — I just don’t believe it matters anymore. And they play right into that.
At the end of the day, it becomes — as long as we still have a vote, it becomes a game of numbers. And as long as they have a better ground game, then the rest of this is just kind of, you know, the prelude. Because if they can mobilize bodies to the polls, they win. And they know it. And that is where they invest. They tell stories, and they invest in technology. And they get bodies to the polls. And so none of this really matters, because the ends justify the means.
Charles Johnson: I try to disabuse folks of the idea that this is all run out of the Oval Office. I’ve been a federal employee. I promise you, there’s a culture that facilitates this.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn tells a great story that I thought of when I heard all the panelists talking about Lois Lerner, Paz, Paws, whatever. And he tells a story in “Gulag” about — doggone it, if we’d only started hanging out in the lobbies of our apartments with hatches when the NKVD came at night, we might’ve turned the whole tide. You know, the lowly bureaucrats wouldn’t show up to arrest you, because they were afraid of getting their head lopped.
Now, I am not suggesting that Lois Lerner get her head lopped. But let me explain why this is important. The media and the conservative movement all too often think everything is a top-down model, where it’s the agency head, or Holder, or Obama. No. It’s the underlings, this culture that exists inside the Beltway that lusts for power, that loves telling you what to do with your life.
And people like Lois Lerner are the problem. And that’s what it’s so critical, critical to name names. Like Cleta said, you have to name names.
I’ve done a series of stories at PJ Media naming the names of the bureaucrats who are behind these policies. And you know, it makes some people very uncomfortable. Well, these folks didn’t sign up to do this; you shouldn’t be putting them in articles. I think we have to change the model. We have to change the model to name the names of the people. And in cases like Cleta and Catherine are doing, litigate against them if you can. And I think that’s — we’re in such dire circumstances, that’s what you have to do now to defend liberty.
Brian Calle: This Obamacare scandal is obviously the latest scandal. And it seems to be getting bigger. But we thought the same with Benghazi, with the NSA, with the IRS. You know, what are your predictions for what’s next? And does this ocre scandal stick?
Cleta Mitchell: Well, I think the thing that it’s important to realize is what Christian said. This whole collapse of the private insurance market — it’s not an unintended consequence; that was their goal. If you want to see something really interesting, go back and look at the 2008 speeches that Obama gave when he was running for President, and just listen to what he says in the context of today. I mean, we all knew. We all knew.
But it’s really interesting to go back and listen. Because he said it — it was hidden in plain sight. Their goal was to crash the private insurance market. Because if you get rid of the private insurance market, then everybody ends up being taken care of by the government. That was the goal.
And I don’t understand why our members of Congress are not saying that — that this is exactly what was intended.
J. Christian Adams: I would just add, very quickly — I think people don’t really yet understand what Obamacare is actually going to do to them. And when they finally understand — I mean, my traffic numbers are up as the President approval ratings are down. So we are actually — that’s how I kind of track these things.
Brian Calle: You’re going to have huge traffic the next couple of weeks.
J. Christian Adams: And I would say the next big thing are the Obamacare navigators. The website — as somebody who knows something about computers, it cannot be built. It will not work. It can’t be done. And you’ve got to understand that.
So what they’re going to do is — you’re going to put in your zip code. And they’re going to send an Obamacare navigator to your door. Now, James O’Keefe has done some great work on this. But I have a whole list of Obamacare navigators who don’t exist or who are convicted felons. So when I post the mug shot with them, you know, for breaking and entering, coming to your door to enroll you in Obamacare, I think that might have some effect on the low-information voters. So I hope.
Eliana Johnson: Yeah. Well, I think, in the history of this law as written, it’s going to be impossible to erase. I think the botched rollout is forever etched into the history of this law. And to the media’s credit, I think the entire media has done a very good job of covering it.
But probably the best report to look at is — NBC News had an “investigative report” that showed — hey, look, the administration knew people were going to lose their healthcare. It was written into the law. Like — hey, guys, where were you in 2010 when the law was written, to do your investigative report about what was written into the law, saying that you were going to lose your health insurance? That was there in 2010, when the Republicans had a vote on the language in the law. The media ignored this for three years. And now that’s coming out, for whatever reason. So we should be grateful for that.
But again, it goes to the importance of having, you know, people be extraordinarily attentive to what’s in this, and the reporters to draw it out. You know, the Republicans in the Senate did have a vote on that. And Mike Enzi did a good job calling attention to that.
Charles Johnson: Can I just piggyback? Because it’s been a theme. Being an opinion editor for the 10th-largest newspaper in the country — one of the problems with this idea of the investigative journalism is that the ones that we do have are often doing it only for conservative outlets, which means they’re only preaching to the choir. And that’s not true with everyone, but the vast majority that I see. And so we need more people who are at the LA Times, who are at the New York Times, who are engaging in left-leaning media as well. Because that’s where, I think, the independents are.
J. Christian Adams: Yeah, I don’t entirely agree with that.
I have a lot of friends at the New York Times. I mean, don’t crucify me, but I do.
And what they’re looking for — you got to understand, some of them are ideologues. But a lot of them are looking for really good stories. And when you go and hang out with them, and you’re like — hey, man, I’ve got all this stuff, you want a piece of it? They’re like yeah. And then you give it to them, and you see, you know, research that you did on the Clinton Global Foundation — you see that on the front page of the New York Times. And it’s kind of like seditious, right? You’re having your research go in their places.
And there are a lot of us out there who are nerd researchers, who are finding stuff and partnering up with people. Because even left-wingers are starting to come around to it.
And frankly, I get the banner on Drudge, I get three million people reading my story. I don’t really care about the New York Times. It’s maybe a million, even on the front page. So you got to understand, it’s a question of volume. We should spend less time thinking about the mainstream media, right, and complaining about how they don’t cover us because they hate us, which is true. We should spend less time on that, and that [leak] to people at the producer level; and we should spend more time thinking about how to replace them. They’re thinking all the time about how to replace us.
Brian Calle: Let’s go to questions. Right here.
Unidentified Speaker: I want to salute heartily each and every one of you. It seems like — well, one thing is that a lot of this — the IRS and the government’s posture — and for that matter, as an overarching theme in Obama’s presidency — there’s the premise of the divine right of kings. And you know, if Obama hasn’t done 40 or 50 things that constitute invoking articles of impeachment, I’ll be damned.
Reminds me of — the most important document of the last thousand years, if not of all Western civilization, is the Magna Carta. Why? Two things — one it challenged the divine right of kings, in that the king wasn’t above the law; and two, it protected property rights, which are intimately connected.
And there is — to get more concrete, there’s a — I’m sure Cleta’s aware of this — there’s a Mountain States Legal Foundation precedent where bureaucrats in the forestry service were personally sued for not allowing a homeowner access to his own land. And I know there’s some precedents out there, and you’ve found them. So I salute all of your work. And the truth will set us free.
Cleta Mitchell: Let me add one fact that you omitted from that case which I think is pertinent to this.
Unidentified Speaker: Yeah.
Cleta Mitchell: It goes to Christian’s point, which is this is pervasive in the bureaucracy. Those BLM agents changed the date on documents —
Unidentified Speaker: [CLM].
Cleta Mitchell: — BLM documents, in order to deny this homeowner the right to his own property.
Unidentified Speaker: So fraud. Fraud among — in the —
Cleta Mitchell: And the court said that was okay.
Unidentified Speaker: And it’s part of the institutional mentality (multiple speakers).
Charles Johnson: Pat Caddell had a great quote at the beginning of his presentation yesterday about Lincoln. I looked everywhere last night, I couldn’t find it. But it basically talks about adaptation — that defenders of freedom at any given moment in history have a new fight they hadn’t seen before.
And I think we have a new fight we haven’t seen before. And you brought up impeachment. Everybody’s always focused on impeach Obama, impeach Obama, impeach Clinton. Impeach lesser federal officials. Right?
Unidentified Speaker: Yeah. Hear, hear.
Yeah. Impeach them by the thousands.
Charles Johnson: Yes. The White House won’t —
Unidentified Speaker: Fire them first.
Charles Johnson: — expend the political capital to defend them that they would if you impeach Holder or Obama.
Unidentified Speaker: Yeah. Good point.
Charles Johnson: Impeach some low-level dag in the Justice Department.
Unidentified Speaker: And the political consequences backlash aren’t nearly as probable.
J. Christian Adams: Let me just say real quickly, I think —
Brian Calle: I want to go to the next question. Quick.
J. Christian Adams: Yeah, very briefly — the welfare state —
Unidentified Speaker: Karl Marx that said —
Brian Calle: You can continue the conversation offline. But —
J. Christian Adams: The welfare state (inaudible) the welfare state is a fraudulent enterprise. There’s a lot of fraud there, there’s a lot to be found. And when you show it to people — I mean, hypocrisy is really the only modern sin. And when people actually see government officials behaving badly, it changes their perception on things. Even liberals, even kind of centrists.
And I would just say, you know, I’d agree we spend a lot of time focusing on the President, a lot of time on impeachment, a lot of time fighting things in the courts. You should fight them in the press, right? Because what they do is they control people’s minds by creating narratives about things that aren’t true, right? So they give you stories about pregnant diabetic women that aren’t actually covered by Obamacare, anyway. They lie to you constantly.
And if you can destroy their narratives, they can stop forming narratives on people and defining them for the rest of the country, so that even the cowards on our side — which there are many, unfortunately — many of the cowards on our side go and see — hey, that guy Romney, he’s got a bad rap. Because they buy into the psychology of the Left. And we’ve got to be very careful about destroying their narratives as they’re forming them, and wasting their work.
Brian Calle: Next question?
Unidentified Speaker: Hi. I just wanted to know if you were also aware of some of the pro-Israel groups that were targeted and were not given 501(c)(3) — for example, Z STREET and Lori Lowenthal Marcus, and how she went ahead and sued, and actually did not have a hearing over three years until this past summer, soon after the whole scandal.
Cleta Mitchell: There’s still no decision.
Unidentified Speaker: And there’s still no decision (multiple speakers).
And the reason she was denied and was told by an underling at one point that her organization was too pro-Israel, and not of the same mind in relation to this administration, which was — and that’s when she sued.
And we’ve also found out that there are some other pro-Israel organizations that took 15, 16, 17 months before they gave them a C3. And that’s when the lawyers started having, you know, pushback. And they finally did on that one. (Multiple speakers) —
Cleta Mitchell: There were not only — there were Tea Party groups, prolife groups and pro-Israel groups. Those were really — those were key targets. And the IRS even told the prolife group — maybe some of you heard this story — that they were not allowed to just talk about the importance of life; they also had to give the other side, about the importance of being able to have access to abortion.
J. Christian Adams: They also targeted veterans’ groups, too.
Unidentified Speaker: Yes.
Charles Johnson: And we have people who’ve been audited for writing op-eds in The Wall Street Journal. And I write about it in my short little booklet, “The Truth About the IRS Scandal.”
Unidentified Speaker: I would — yes. Thank you. I assume, as many people are doing now, that our next contender for the presidency in the Democratic Party will be Hillary. I would like to know why we are not under attack against Hillary for all the work that she’s been involved with Benghazi. And we should start now to criticize her, so that the public knows that she has never done a single thing for either Israel or what was her involvement in Benghazi. Because she was deeply involved. She was also encouraging people to believe it was due to some poor guy who spent time in jail because he made a poor video.
Why don’t we start attacking the potential contenders? And certainly, Hillary is among the — most expected to be the one for the Democratic Party. The Republicans seem to criticize very easily. We are very divisive. And unfortunately, it hurts us. We have to go after those people who we’re going to have to face in the presidential election. And Hillary has to be shown to be a person of no moral character whatsoever.
J. Christian Adams: I interviewed the Benghazi filmmaker from his federal halfway house. I called him up on — finally tracked him down (inaudible) jail. And I interviewed him, I published a story on him.
We should not be doing Hillary stuff right now.
Unidentified Speaker: Why?
J. Christian Adams: Rest assured that people like me are [announcing] pull files on Hillary and on Martin O’Malley, and on Elizabeth Warren, and on a whole bunch more of these people. And what we’re waiting for is the narrative to shift. Right? There’ll be a time in which one of them will announce for President. And then there’ll be a little packet of information. If you don’t believe me — when Julian Castro was announced as the DNC speaker, I published all this stuff about how his mother was a Marxist. Right?
So we’ve got to be very strategic about how we do these things. What a lot of the Right does is it takes this stuff and publishes it right away. Right? And we’re all talking about Obamacare right now, right? Don’t take to me about Benghazi, don’t talk to me — I mean, even though I wrote about the IRS scandal, don’t talk to me about the IRS scandal. Talk to me about what’s on everybody’s mind. That’s how you win.
And what we spend a lot of time doing is — whenever we get something interesting, we just publish it. Right? And then what happens is the Left says — oh, somebody already published that, when it’s germane again, right?
So we’ve got to be very strategic. Like a chess game, we’ve got to be very strategic about this.
Brian Calle: Go ahead.
Unidentified Speaker: Thank you for all you do, [guy], for devoting your life to this, to help us save our country.
This is a quick question about strategy on the election. Catherine, I’m passionate about this voter fraud. I think the election was stolen in 2012.
What is the plan? What can we do to help you? We can contribute to you? What can we do on a local level, on a grassroots level, to —
Cleta Mitchell: And before Catherine answers, let me just say that when we filed the lawsuit, the IRS has now granted, suddenly, True the Vote’s C3 status. So your contribution to True the Vote is now tax-deductable.
Catherine Engelbrecht: On the expedited fast track of three years and three months and a lawsuit. And we got the determination.
Thank you very much for that question. It is ultimately all about citizens being willing to stand up and take action. And if you want to find out more about our program and the things that you can do, you can check out truethevote.org and sign up.
But what does it actually look like to stand up for election integrity? Well, certainly, we need people to work inside of the polls. When we don’t have enough volunteers actually engaged in the process, then arguments like what we see in Colorado, where they’ve just kind of folded in and become an all-mail-in state, because — you know, just not really enough interest in participating; why do we need to have those checks and balances that seeing someone eye-to-eye reinforces? Let’s just whitewash through all of that.
We need people that are engaged enough in the process to recognize the dangers in that. We have systems that allow you to check your own voter rolls and do your own research. There are citizen challenges that you can put forward in your counties to try and help cull through, as Christian pointed out, the bad data that we all know exists in our voter rolls.
And then to help advocate for common-sense election code reform. You know, the Left is very, very prepared. When they go in to try and defeat pieces of legislation, they will band together in a way that I refer to as swarming.
And you will see groups of — case in point — we used to go to — in Texas, inside of the election office, election commission hearings, ever week. And it would just be crickets and tumbleweeds inside of that building. Nobody cared enough to show up. All of a sudden, after an edict came down from a group that again we don’t have enough time to discuss, called the Democracy Alliance, that decided one of their primary goals was going to be to stop photo voter identification — all of a sudden, all of these groups that had disparate interests were now coming together and swarming over what would seem to be innocuous election administration efforts.
And so, this little room, where this committee would normally hear out reform issues, was now filled with, in one instance, 35 groups who all came together to stop what would seem to be common-sense reform. So citizens have to be prepared to be engaged and to protect and defend this process. Because if we don’t, we will lose it. That’s it.
Brian Calle: Thanks. Next question?
Unidentified Speaker: So I’d like to thank you all for what you do for us. I too fear for this country. I fear for my future, I fear for the future of my peers. I see all around me that the majority of voters in this country are ignorant, that most of the population of this country is ignorant, and that the Judeo-Christian values that drove our founders forward and drove our society forward have been completely eradicated from the school systems, from daily life, from pop culture.
And you know, I don’t want to get not admitted to my college of choice because of affirmative action. And I don’t want to have to stay on my parents’ healthcare until I’m 26.
Brian Calle: How old are you?
Unidentified Speaker: I’m 14.
Brian Calle: Wow.
Unidentified Speaker: Thank you.
Brian Calle: I think a bunch of people in this room want to adopt you.
Unidentified Speaker: Thank you. And I was just wondering if there’s any promise in what the great people in this room are doing, if there’s any promise in what you’re doing, and if there’s any promise for the future of this country. Thank you.
Catherine Engelbrecht: Well, let me just say one thing — most of the people in this country are not ignorant. And the thing that restored my faith in America was the Tea Party movement, when people got up and out of their chairs.
And I really didn’t think that our citizenry — now, when you think about it, people, we finance all of our major purposes in our lives through debt. We buy our houses with debt, we pay for our kids’ college education — unless you (inaudible) write a check, and many people are not able to do that — with debt. And we’re used to debt financing. And I really didn’t think that it would bother the American people when Obama came in with the stimulus package and all this incredible increase in our debt.
But I was wrong. And the American people got up and out of their chairs, out from in front of the televisions. They took the time off from work. People who had never done anything politically active before in their lives. And they came out in droves, and they reclaimed — they started the process of reclaiming America in 2010.
So don’t ever think the majority of the American people are stupid, because they’re not. They’re just busy trying to earn a living, take care of their kids and pay the damn taxes they get imposed upon them. But we can do these things if we pay attention to the processes. You all are here. You all care.
So yes, you should — I love this thing that Charles was telling me — that despair is not an option. So don’t despair.
Unidentified Speaker: I would say, too, as a young person — I’m 25, so I’m still eligible to be on my parents’ health insurance —
— I bought my own health insurance. It just doubled; thank you, Obama. You know, I’m an adult child, and yet I’m married. And, God willing, we’ll have a kid someday soon. But I would just say, with young people, we’ve got work to do. All right? Many of our generation — we’re chicken voting for Colonel Sanders. Right?
And we’ve got to do a lot of work on this. I’m so tired of all these baby boomers saying — oh, you young people need to have insurance. Really? You’re the flower girl generation. You’re like flower power. Were you really having insurance at 25 years old? Come on now.
And so what you got to do is you got to go out with the people. You got to go out and talk to them. What you got to do is meet people as they are, not as you wish them to be.
So even though I’m a Catholic — you know, I’m totally onboard with virtually everything the Religious Right is for — we’ve got to be very aware that we don’t live in the world we should live in. And so we have to try and persuade people as best we can. And that means meeting people.
Brian Calle: On that note, I got the high-five from Mike. And I want to make sure this guy gets onto his plane. Let’s get another round of applause for our panel.
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