"The Internal Revenue Service's scrutiny of conservative groups went beyond those with 'tea party' or 'patriot' in their names — as the agency admitted Friday — to also include ones worried about government spending, debt or taxes, and even ones that lobbied to 'make America a better place to live,' " The Wall Street Journal reports.
And let's turn now to the topic of political intelligence. This is the business of collecting highly detailed information from Congress and the regulatory agencies and then using it to make it money on Wall Street. The Securities and Exchange Commission is now investigating this practice. The probe comes a year after Congress passed legislation that barred lawmakers and staffers from the leaking insider information as a violation of their official duties
Republican lawmakers on Sunday called for a full investigation of the Internal Revenue Service after it was revealed Friday that it had singled out Tea Party and other conservative groups for heightened scrutiny in applications for tax-exempt status.
NPR's congressional correspondent David Welna speaks with host Scott Simon about the flurry of last-minute amendments, most from conservative Republicans, to alter the bipartisan immigration legislation.
The Pentagon says the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration could leave the U.S. with a military that is simply unprepared for the most challenging combat missions. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told Congress in April that the military is eating its seed corn.
As if the Obama administration's conservative critics didn't have enough fodder with last year's attacks on a U.S. Consulate that killed four Americans, now comes Friday's startling revelation that Internal Revenue Service workers between 2010 and 2012 singled out groups with "Tea Party" and "Patriots" in their name for extra scrutiny of their applications for tax-exempt status.
A Pentagon survey released this week estimated that 26,000 people in the military were sexually assaulted last year. Women on the Senate and House Armed Services committees are leveraging their clout in response to the problem.
Other bipartisan efforts on Capitol Hill may be collapsing around them, but a cadre of Democratic and Republican women serving on the Senate and House Armed Services committees are leveraging their historic clout to respond together to the sexual assault crisis engulfing the U.S. military.
From NPR News this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. After more than a year of denials by the IRS, a director at the agency apologized today for its targeting of Tea Party and patriot groups. As NPR's Peter Overby reports, the apology has reignited a political controversy.
This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee began marking up an immigration bill. We used to speak of immigration reform, but in recent years it's become circumspect to say overhaul, which is presumably more neutral. Our Friday political commentators don't seem especially neutral about the issue. E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post and the Brookings Institution, good to see you here.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. At congressional hearings this week, three witnesses introduced as State Department whistleblowers criticized the administration's handling of last September's assault on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya. That attack claimed the life of United States Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
When the House held its much-anticipated hearing on Benghazi Wednesday, one major figure not at the witness table was Thomas Pickering, the former ambassador and co-chair of the Accountability Review Board that reported on last September's attacks.
Why wasn't he there?
That's somewhat in dispute. California Republican Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, put the blame squarely on the shoulders of Pickering and report co-author Adm. Mike Mullen.
President Obama has led an administration that so far has avoided a headline-grabbing, signature scandal. But now he's learning how one begins to take shape.
In many ways, the Benghazi story is following the arc of many Washington scandals of the past. It's rarely the initial incident that gets politicians in trouble. Instead, it's the way in which they respond to it.
Rarely a month seems to pass when there isn't some state legislator in New York facing indictment.
The latest, former Democratic state Sen. Shirley Huntley, was sentenced Thursday to spend a year and a day in prison for stealing $88,000 from a charity she controlled. A day earlier, a federal judge had unsealed records showing that Huntley last year secretly recorded conversations with seven other elected officials she suspected of corruption.
They're baaack! Both Mark Sanford and Benghazi made triumphant returns to the national consciousness this week, as Sanford won the special election in South Carolina and career diplomat Gregory Hicks testified about what happened in Libya – testimony that pleased Republicans, displeased Democrats. Meanwhile, NPR's Ken Rudin and Ron Elving are still seeking their own redemption.
On a Friday it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
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And I'm David Greene. Good morning.
Congress has held its first hearing on last month's Boston Marathon bombing. Boston's police commissioner testified yesterday that he did not know about an FBI probe into one of the suspects. He also said he's not clear the information would have made a difference.
But as NPR's Brian Naylor reports, lawmakers still want answers about the flaws and inadequacies of joint terrorism task forces.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene. Let's get an update now on one of this year's major policy debates. There is an immigration bill under consideration. The law, if passed, has the potential to be a major success story for President Obama and for the bipartisan group of lawmakers who drafted it. Opponents of the bill have major concerns about how it treats people who came to the U.S. illegally, and also about how much the law would cost.
Things got a little out of hand at the Missouri state Capitol late Wednesday. An unusual evening session of the House featured a representative wearing a tinfoil hat, a toy black helicopter flying around the chamber and some heated words between legislators.
"It was definitely tense," says Jonathan Shorman, a reporter for the Springfield News-Leader. "It was a moment of high drama for the session."
House Republicans have passed a bill that would tell President Obama which bills to pay first, should the U.S. Treasury run out of cash and risk default, like it almost did two summers ago. The proposal is not likely to move in the Democratic Senate, and the issue itself is fading in urgency as the deficit picture improves.
Colorado lawmakers approved two taxes on marijuana — a 15 percent excise tax, and a 10 percent sales tax. A photo depicts a quarter of an ounce, left, and one ounce of marijuana, along with a handful of rolled joints at a Denver dispensary.
Colorado is set to become the first U.S. state to regulate and tax sales of recreational marijuana, after lawmakers approved several bills that set business standards and rules. Legislators expect enforcement of the rules to be paid for by two taxes on marijuana — a 15 percent excise tax, and a 10 percent sales tax.
Other measures included in the package set limits on how much marijuana visitors to Colorado can buy (a quarter of an ounce), as well as a limit on how many cannabis plants a private citizen can grow (six).
Now we turn to a segment we call In Your Ear. Sometimes, after we've asked our guest about their work, we ask them about the music they listen to while they relax or play. Today, we hear from Ambassador Ron Kirk. He recently stepped down as United States Trade representative. But we caught up with him shortly before he left his post, and here's what he had to say about the music that kept him moving.
RON KIRK: Right now on now I'm enjoying "Once In A Lifetime" by Smokie Norful.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Later in the program, we will talk more about the story that's riveted the country, about those three women who were missing for a decade who were recently found alive. In a few minutes, we'll speak with a local columnist who stayed in touch with the mother of one of the missing women, who never gave up hope, but, sadly, did not live to see her daughter free. We'll hear more from columnist Regina Brett.
Steve Inskeep talks with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus of Montana and House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp of Michigan about their bipartisan efforts to rewrite the tax code. On Thursday, the lawmakers launched TaxReform.gov in an effort to solicit direct input from Americans on simplifying the tax code.
Some progressive groups are angry with Facebook for running ads supporting GOP lawmakers on board with the immigration overhaul bill. The left-wing groups have turned a blind eye to what Facebook gets out of the overhaul measure, and what it may cost American tech workers.
A House committee held a hearing Wednesday into last year's attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The event has been a key political weapon for Republicans, first against President Obama's re-election campaign, and now against then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is a potential Democratic presidential candidate in 2016.