Florida Sheriff wants you to spy on your neighbor

The Palm Beach Post reports. “Florida House and Senate budget leaders have awarded Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw $1 million for a new violence prevention unit aimed at preventing tragedies like those in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., from occurring on his turf.”

The only problem is Sheriff Bradshaw wants “local citizens to report their neighbors, friends or family members if they fear they could harm themselves or others.”

This goes well beyond reporting criminal activity and has civil rights activists up in arms.

According to Dara Kam and Stacy Singer from The Palm Beach Post:

Mental health advocates, however, worry about a potential new source of stigma, and the potential for erosion of the civil rights of people with mental illnesses.

“How are they possibly going to watch everybody who makes a comment like that? It’s subjective,” said Liz Downey, executive director of the Palm Beach County branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. “We don’t want to take away people’s civil liberties just because people aren’t behaving the way we think they should be.”

Bradshaw acknowledged the risk that anyone in a messy divorce or in a dispute with a neighbor could abuse the hotline. But, he said, he’s confident that his trained professionals will know how to sort out fact from fiction.

“We know how to sift through frivolous complaints,” he said.

The proposal still needs the blessing of Gov. Rick Scott, who has line-item veto authority.

Ann Berner, CEO of the Southeast Florida Behavioral Health Network, which manages mental health care payments for the state warned, “To be successful, however, there will have to be close coordination with the mental health providers, she said. For example, the county already pays for mobile crisis response teams at two nonprofit mental health providers, a service that includes a 24-hour crisis call center. They, too, are trained to de-escalate conflicts and refer troubled people to care. Which ones will respond when there’s a call from a school or a home? That will have to be clarified.”

“Also, after troubled people are identified by Bradshaw’s teams, then what? Who will pay for their care? The state? Medicaid? The county?” ask Kam and Singer. I would add to this list: Who is liable for false reports or claims? What happens if a citizen is injured during a false report? What happens to a person who files a false report.

In 2002 there was a movie starring Tom Cruise called Minority Report. The idea of “pre-crime” detection did not work out well there.

Police departments worldwide have seen the 911 calling system misused. The Center for Problem-Oriented Policing (CPOP) has looked at 911 call misuse and abuse.

According to the CPOP website “911 misuse and abuse is divided into two categories: unintentional and intentional calls.” For example there is a serious problem with phantom 911 calls. “The National Emergency Number Association reports that phantom wireless calls account for between 25 and 70 percent of all 911 calls in some U.S. communities. The California Highway Patrol (currently the handler of nearly all California wireless 911 calls) estimates that between 1.8 million and 3.6 million of the 6 million wireless 911 calls it receives annually are phantom. U.K. police estimate they receive 11,000 phantom wireless calls per day to their 999 emergency number. The wide data variations highlight the need for further research to pinpoint the scale of the problem,” the CPOP report notes.

Will this open the floodgates for false calls?

Florida Case Worker: Illegal Aliens Got Food Stamps by the “Vanload”

Judicial Watch reports:

For decades the U.S. government has knowingly given illegal immigrants food stamps, according to a former certification case worker who denounced the costly practice back in the 1980s but was essentially ordered to keep a lid on it.

The retired assistant case manager, Craig McNees, was in charge of vetting food-stamp applicants in north Florida and Indiana in the ’80s and says the program was infested with fraud and corruption that was perpetually ignored by management. “Illegals would come in by the vanload and we were told to give them their stuff,” McNees said. “Management knew very well they were illegal. It was so rampant that some employees would tell their illegal relatives to come get food stamps.”

McNees contacted Judicial Watch after reading documents obtained by JW from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) detailing how the agency is working with the Mexican government to promote participation by illegal aliens in the U.S. food stamp program. The effort includes a Spanish-language flyer provided to the Mexican Embassy by the USDA ensuring that Mexicans in the U.S. don’t need to declare their immigration status to get financial assistance from Uncle Sam.

The documents ignited outrage considering the nation’s food stamp program has exploded under President Obama, who claims there are too many “food insecure households” in America. To correct the problem the administration has spent millions on ad campaigns promoting food stamps and has rewarded states with multi-million-dollar bonuses for signing up recipients. It’s been quite effective because American taxpayers spent an astounding $80.4 billion on the program in 2012 and a record number of people—46 million and growing—get free groceries from Uncle Sam.

The retired case worker who contacted JW says in the three years he worked in a Sarasota food-stamp office, he found more than 500 cases of fraud but management ignored them all instead pushing a yearly quota. “They just said that if we don’t give out as many as last year, we don’t get our money,” McNees said. “It was crazy, like a three-ring circus; like the inmates were running the asylum.”

Decades later it seems little has changed as Obama promotes the program like there’s no tomorrow. In fact, last summer a federal audit revealed that many who don’t qualify for food stamps receive them under a special “broad-based” eligibility program that disregards income and asset requirements. That means American taxpayers are getting stuck with a multi-million-dollar tab to feed hundreds of thousands who can well afford to feed themselves.

Adding insult to injury, last spring the USDA Inspector General revealed that many food-stamp recipients use their welfare benefit to buy drugs, weapons and other contraband from unscrupulous vendors. Some trade food stamps for reduced amounts of cash, the USDA watchdog told Congress, disclosing that the fraud has cost taxpayers nearly $200 million. None of this surprises McNees, who claims he witnessed so much fraud as a food-stamp case worker that he “could write a book.”

Check cashing anti-fraud bill passes Florida legislature

Representative W. Travis Cummings

Tallahassee, Fla. – The Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) today commended the Florida Legislature for the passage of House Bill 217, which if signed into law, will require check cashiers to log check cashing data into a statewide database designed to prevent fraudulent activity.

“It has been a pleasure working with the various stakeholders on this very important legislation that is long overdue,” said Representative Travis Cummings, sponsor of the bill.  “I am convinced that the use of technology via this real time database will significantly combat fraud that is currently costing our state roughly $1 billion annually.”

The new legislation will require check cashiers to log any checks cashed in excess of $1,000.  In addition to the check amount, each business will be required to submit traceable information such as payer  payee, fee charged, type of identification presented and payee’s workers’ compensation insurance policy number, if the check was made out to a business.  The bill also provides that multiple checks accepted from any one person in one day, which total $1,000 or more, must be aggregated and reported in the database.

“This legislation allows our state agencies to work together to prevent and fight fraud,” said OFR Commissioner Drew J. Breakspear. “The new database will allow the OFR to efficiently and effectively track and investigate potential fraudulent activity with real time information from our partners at the Department of Financial Services (DFS) and the Department of State (DOS).”

This legislation is one of the recommendations from a work-group convened by Chief Financial Officer, Jeff Atwater, to look at the complicated and organized premium avoidance scheme that is pervading the workers’ compensation insurance market.  In some cases, check cashing store owners are being used to accomplish this fraud.

“This work-group brought together all stakeholders to develop recommendations on how to clean up the industry,” said CFO Atwater. “I applaud the Florida Legislature for passing this bill and look forward to working with the OFR to prevent and prosecute fraudulent activity.”

The check cashing database created by this legislation will have the capability to interface with the Secretary of State’s database for purposes of verifying corporate registration and articles of incorporation.  The database will also have the capability to interface with the DFS database for purposes of determining proof of coverage for workers’ compensation.

“Florida’s financial service centers have worked hard to help ensure passage of House Bill 217 to provide regulators with a real-time database of check cashing transactions,” said Corey Mathews, Executive Director of the Financial Service Centers of Florida.  “This critical tool will help law enforcement to identify and prosecute criminals who are attempting to invade the financial services industry.”

“Workers’ Compensation fraud is a problem that negatively affects consumers and taxpayers every day,” said James Banks, Executive Secretary Treasurer of the Florida Carpenters Regional Council.  “Florida’s Carpenters applaud the steps the Legislature has taken to level the playing field in the construction industry by creating additional tools for our law enforcement community.”

Common Core: Subversive Threat to Education? (+ video)

Karen Bracken ( http://tnacc.weebly.com ) presented Common Core: Subversive Threat to Education on 18 April 2013 at the Chattanooga TEA Party meeting. Introduction is by Mark West, President of the Chattanooga TEA Party.

Bracken states, “Jeb Bush is deeply embedded in this [Common Core] process”.

Karen Bracken with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

ABOUT KAREN BRACKEN:

I am almost 64 years old and the grandmother of 4 almost grown grandchildren.  Gladly I won’t have to worry about Common Core affecting them.  But lord knows the indoctrination of our children has been going on in our public school system for many years.  But at least I won’t have to worry about my grandchildren getting sucked up in to Common Core.  BUT they will have children someday and I just felt I had to do something.  I am already very active in my community.  I have a national Agenda 21 coalition, a Tennessee Legislative Team, speaking engagements on Agenda 21 and Common Core, local and state politics and just day to day life.  My goal is to educate people about what is happening in our country.  What shocks me most is how many people refuse to admit or to see what is taking place.  It is a true indication that our public school system has been failing students for many years.  I learned about Communism in school.  I learned what it was and how it destroys free will, free thinking and freedom in general.   Whether we want to admit it or not Communism is what we are fighting in our country right now.  It might have names like Agenda 21, Sustainable Development, Smart Growth, Biodiversity, Common Core but at the end of the day it is Communism just dressed up in a new wrapping.  They keep changing the names when people start to catch on.  Think about it.  We had Global Warming and when it was exposed for the lie it is they changed the name to Climate Change in order to keep the hoax alive.  I pray ever day that people get their heads out of the sand and stand up for our country because once freedom is lost it can never be regained.  Our children are what they want.  They know that in one generation they can brainwash enough children to finally get what they want.  The total destruction of America and freedom.  Remember “Freedom is never more that one generation away from extinction.”  Ronald Reagan.

To learn more about Karen Bracken visit her website by clicking here.

Judicial Watch Uncovers USDA Records Sponsoring U.S. Food Stamp Program for Illegal Aliens

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today released documents detailing how the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is working with the Mexican government to promote participation by illegal aliens in the U.S. food stamp program.

The promotion of the food stamp program, now known as “SNAP” (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), includes a Spanish-language flyer provided to the Mexican Embassy by the USDA with a statement advising Mexicans in the U.S. that they do not need to declare their immigration status in order to receive financial assistance.  Emphasized in bold and underlined, the statement reads, “You need not divulge information regarding your immigration status in seeking this benefit for your children.”

The documents came in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request made to USDA on July 20, 2012.  The FOIA request sought: “Any and all records of communication relating to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to Mexican Americans, Mexican nationals, and migrant communities, including but not limited to, communications with the Mexican government.”

The documents obtained by Judicial Watch show that USDA officials are working closely with their counterparts at the Mexican Embassy to widely broaden the SNAP program in the Mexican immigrant community, with no effort to restrict aid to, identify, or apprehend illegal immigrants who may be on the food stamp rolls. In an email to Borjon Lopez-Coterilla and Jose Vincente of the Mexican Embassy, dated January 26, 2012, Yibo Wood of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) sympathized with the plight of illegal aliens applying for food stamps, saying, “FNS understands that mixed status households may be particularly vulnerable.  Many of these households contain a non-citizen parent and a citizen child.”

The email from Wood to Lopez-Coterilla and Vincente came in response to a request from the Mexican Embassy that the USDA FNS step in to prevent the state of Kansas from changing its food stamp policy to restrict the amount of financial assistance provided to illegal aliens.  In a January 22, 2012, article, the Kansas City Star had revealed that the state would no longer include illegal aliens in its calculations of the amount of assistance to be provided low-income Hispanic families in order to prevent discrimination against legal recipients.

The documents, obtained by Judicial Watch in August 2012, include the following:

  • March 30, 2012 – The USDA seeks approval of the Mexican Embassy in drafting a letter addressed to consulates throughout the United States designed to encourage Mexican embassy staffers to enroll in a webinar learn how to promote increased enrollment among “the needy families that the consulates serve.”
  • August 1, 2011 – The USDA FNS initiates contact with the Mexican Embassy in New York to implement programs already underway in DC and Philadelphia for maximizing participation among Mexican citizens. The Mexican Embassy responds that the Consul General is eager to strengthen his ties to the USDA, with specific interest in promoting the food stamp program.
  • February 25, 2011 – The USDA and the Mexican Consulate exchange ideas about getting the First Ladies of Mexico and United States to visit a school for purposes of creating a photo opportunity that would promote free school lunches for low-income students in a predominantly Hispanic school. Though a notation in the margin of the email claims that the photo op never took place, UPI reported that it actually did.
  • March 3, 2010 – A flyer advertises a webinar to teach Hispanic-focused nonprofits how to get reimbursed by the USDA for serving free lunch over the summer. The course, funded by American taxpayers, is advertised as being “free for all participants.”
  • February 9 , 2010 – USDA informs the Mexican Embassy that, based on an agreement reached between the State Department and the Immigration & Naturalization Service (now ICE), the Women, Infants & Children (WIC) food voucher program does not violate immigration laws prohibiting immigrants from becoming a “public charge.”

As far back as 2006, in its Corruption Chronicles blog, Judicial Watch revealed that the USDA was spending taxpayer money to run Spanish-language television ads encouraging illegal immigrants to apply for government-financed food stamps. The Mexican Consul in Santa Ana, CA, at the time even starred in some of the U.S. Government-financed television commercials, which explained the program and provided a phone number to apply. In the widely viewed commercial the Consul assured that receiving food stamps “won’t affect your immigration status.”

In 2012, Judicial Watch reported that in a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions questioned the Obama administration’s partnership with Mexican consulates to encourage foreign nationals, migrant workers and non-citizen immigrants to apply for food stamps and other USDA administered welfare benefits. Sessions wrote, “It defies rational thinking,” Sessions wrote, “for the United States – now dangerously $16 trillion in debt – to partner with foreign governments to help us place more foreign nationals on American welfare and it is contrary to good immigration policy in the United States.”

“The revelation that the USDA is actively working with the Mexican government to promote food stamps for illegal aliens should have a direct impact on the fate of the immigration bill now being debated in Congress,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “These disclosures further confirm the fact that the Obama administration cannot be trusted to protect our borders or enforce our immigration laws. And the coordination with a foreign government to attack the policies of an American state is contemptible.”

RELATED COLUMNS: 

Truth about welfare, food stamps, Obamacare buried in 2013 immigration bill

Judge says no to DHS ruling over immigration by executive order

Southern Poverty Law Center Exposed!

Joel Gehrke from the Washington Examiner reports:

Family Research Council (FRC) officials released [the below] video of federal investigators questioning convicted domestic terrorist Floyd Lee Corkins II, who explained that he attacked the group’s headquarters because the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) identified them as a “hate group” due to their traditional marriage views.

“Southern Poverty Law lists anti-gay groups,” Corkins tells interrogators in the video, which FRC obtained from the FBI. “I found them online, did a little research, went to the website, stuff like that.”

The Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard reported that Corkins, who pleaded guilty to terrorism charges, said in court that he hoped to “kill as many as possible and smear the Chick-Fil-A sandwiches in victims’ faces, and kill the guard.” As Bedard explained, “the shooting occurred after an executive with Chick-Fil-A announced his support for traditional marriage, angering same-sex marriage proponents.”

Robert Spencer from Jihad Watch states, “The SPLC, the well-heeled propaganda machine that smears conservatives for cash, is an integral part of the ongoing Leftist effort to demonize and destroy legitimate conservative voices — like our American Freedom Defense Initiative, which they also classify as a “hate group” — by lumping them in with the likes of the KKK. The SPLC turns a blind eye to the real hate that comes from the Left and Islamic supremacists, and offers with its hate group listings not only an incitement to violence, but a handy tool that lazy Leftist mainstream media journalists use to try to intimidate people away from supporting our message of human rights. The SPLC richly deserves its place on AFDI’s Threats to Freedom Index.”

Tom Trento, well known SE Florida radio talk show host, did a five part series on the SPLC. Trento states, “The TrentoVision Team launches an investigation into the so-called, Southern “Poverty” Law Center to find out why the Obama Administration works so closely with this “filthy rich” front group for the radical left! Our special guest is Tony Perkins, President of the prestigious Family Research Council. August 2012, Tony was the target of a radical homosexual activist who wanted to kill him and 14 others at FRC. Throughout this five-part series we will look at the finances, pro-gay agenda, pro-Islamic jihad agenda and the all around anti-American activities of the SPLC.”

Below is part one with special guest Tony Perkins, Executive Director of the Family Research Council, of a five part series on the SPLC:

Watch the other four parts of the series:

Monday April 22 – SPLC overview, with Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PI-Z1Y4G88Y

Tuesday, April 23 – Peter Sprigg, Homosexual Activism at the SPLC, Family Research Council

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_gHRA_0EwU

Wednesday April 24 – Gen. General Boykin, SPLC & the Muslim Brotherhood, Family Research Council

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6eI5kC6Y8E

Thursday April 25 – Charlotte Allen – SPLC finances – The Weekly Standard

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eniTNIVlkTo

Friday April 26 – Ken Klukowski, FRC and Andrea Lafferty, Traditional Values Coalition, TOPIC?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9iOrvwzzqk

Florida legislature passes ethics and campaign finance reform bills

Dan Krassner, executive director of the independent government watchdog group Integrity Florida issued the below statement on the passage of historic ethics reform and campaign finance reform bills by the Florida Legislature:

“Lawmakers are beginning the process of cleaning up the government and restoring trust with Floridians. Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford promised sweeping ethics and campaign finance reform and they have delivered. After a 36-year drought, Florida lawmakers should be commended for advancing good government reforms in our state Capitol. Integrity Florida is grateful to see most of our research recommendations included in the ethics and campaign finance legislation that has been passed. While there is still more work to do to make ethics laws stronger and to fix a broken campaign finance system, Florida is finally moving in the right direction on these issues.”

Integrity Florida wishes to thank Phil Claypool, the retried executive director of the Florida Commission on Ethics for his contributions to our research and expert legal analysis throughout the legislative process. We greatly appreciate our ethics reform coalition partners, including Progress Florida, The Tea Party Network and Common Cause Florida for their great work to improve the ethics reform bill. Former State Senator Paula Dockery paved the wave for ethics reform to be realized by advocating for the issue for many years and we are honored for her guidance and contributions to the cause,” stated Krassner.

Highlights of the ethics reform legislation (SB 2 and SB 4):

  • The public would have four new ways to start ethics complaints through U.S. Attorneys, State Attorneys, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and the Governor’s Office. Those four entities could refer credible complaints to the Florida Commission on Ethics. While not the full self-initiation of investigations that the ethics commission should have, this process is a good step to fight corruption and reduce frivolous complaints since these agencies would provide an additional vetting process for higher quality complaints to reach the ethics commission. Integrity Florida encourages U.S. Attorneys, State Attorneys, FDLE and the Governor to create “report corruption hotlines” via phone, web and email to collect anonymous tips from the public to address public corruption.
  • Financial disclosure forms will be posted online in a searchable database for the public to access.
  • The Florida Commission on Ethics will begin moving towards an electronic filing system for financial disclosure to make the process smoother for filers and to provide better quality information for the public to access in an easier to read format.
  • More ethics training for public officials will be required.
  • Fine enforcement will be enhanced by allowing the ethics commission to garnish wages of officials owing fines to the commission and it extends the collection period from five to twenty years.
  • Voting conflict standards and disclosures have been strengthened.
  • Expands ethics code restrictions on gifts from vendors to state officials.
  • Strengthens revolving door rules to limit legislators from lobbying for two years after they leave office.
  • Creates new restrictions to prohibit officials from obtaining crony jobs based on their public office.

Highlights of the campaign finance legislation (HB 569):  

  • Raises contribution limits to $3,000 for statewide candidates and $1,000 for legislative and local candidates.
  • Requires 24-hour disclosure of contributions and expenditures in the final days of state-level campaigns and a more rapid filing schedule for campaign reports year-round for candidates and committees.
  • Streamlines independent committees by eliminating committees of continuous existence.
  • Directs the Florida Division of Elections towards creation of an enhanced statewide campaign finance database. 

Related Integrity Florida research:

Corruption Risk Report: Florida Ethics Laws
June 6, 2012

Corruption Risk Report: Financial Disclosure
July 30, 2012

Florida’s Broken Campaign Finance System – Integrity Florida Report to the Florida House of Representatives Ethics & Elections Subcommittee
January 16, 2013

Florida doctor loses license in botched abortion

Esther Rachwal in an email to WDW states, “Here is the story of a Florida doctor that loses his license over a botched abortion. Ironically people are led to believe that abortion is safe and legal, but there have been dozens of women who have either died or developed severe medical problems from so called “legal” abortions. This information is rarely reported.”

“Even now with the Gosnell trial going on 5 weeks, with gruesome details, there is very little reporting. Yet in today’s paper (Monday), a Wildlife Sanctuary of NW Florida held a baby shower for young animals, as reported in the Pensacola News Journal. About 700 visitors brought various things and food donations to help care for the animals. And on April 7th, a large article reported on the abuses of farm animals which were video taped by animal rights activists. These tapes drew swift response from Federal prosecutors in Tennessee. Local authorities in Wyoming charged farm employees with cruelty to animals. So, can you imagine how media would have covered this Gosnell story if it were animals beheaded, and their spinal cords severed while alive?” notes Rachwal.

Cheryl Sullenger | Tallahassee, FL | LifeNews.com | 4/22/13 3:11 PM

The Florida Board of Medicine took action to suspend the medical license of late-term abortionist James Scott Pendergraft, IV on Friday after he failed to pay the board fines from a previous disciplinary action that totaled over $120,000.

The settlement agreement reached between the board and Pendergraft orders that his medical license “shall be indefinitely suspended until such time as [Pendergraft] complies” with the order to pay his fines.

This is the fifth time that Pendergraft’s medical license has been suspended by the Florida Board of Medicine. He continues to operate five abortion clinics in Florida, primarily in the Orlando area.

The fines resulted from a 2010 case where Pendergraft was heavily fined and placed on suspension related to a 2006 botched elective 19-week abortion.

Patient S.B went to Pendergraft for the second trimester abortion on Feb. 3, 2006. He prescribed doses of Cytotec, a drug that is known to cause severe and unpredictable uterine contractions and sent her home for three days to take the medication on her own. Pendergraft did not have a valid DEA number at the time.

When S.B. returned to the clinic, he further illegally administered doses of Cytotec, Demerol, and Phenergan. He attempted the abortion before the patient was adequately dilated, lacerating her cervix and sending her to the hospital where she underwent an emergency hysterectomy.

At the hospital, staff delivered the remains of S.B.’s baby and found that it was missing a lower limb. Efforts were made to locate the limb in the abdominal cavity to no avail. There were no indications on the patient’s chart. Later, it was discovered that the limb had been removed at the clinic. This lack of documentation caused issues in providing the patient with proper emergency care.

Pendergraft was suspended and ordered to pay fines in excess of $122,000. Pendergraft failed to pay, resulting in another disciplinary case attempting to seek payment. Finally, Friday’s action suspended his license until further notice.

Pendergraft has a long history of abortion abuses. An Operation Rescue undercover investigation discovered that he was working illegally in Maryland with another abortionist Harold O. Alexander, to offer late-term abortions while his license was under suspension in Florida and filed complaints. Alexander was later disciplined for destroying patient records related to his business with Pendergraft, closing down Pendergraft’s Maryland operation.

In 2011, Pendergraft was hit with a whopping civil medical malpractice judgment of $36,737,660.16 in compensatory and punitive damages in a case involving a botched 20 week abortion that resulted in the live birth of a child physically damaged by Pendergraft’s incompetent abortion process amid what was described as “third world conditions” with virtually no counseling.

Kermit Gosnell

“Pendergraft is a prime example of how an abortionist operating outside the law in a manner that is reminiscent of the Kermit Gosnell murder case. He is proof that Gosnell is not an outlier, but is a snapshot of degenerate nature of the abortion cartel in America today,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “Pendergraft belongs in prison just as much as Kermit Gosnell, but the reticence of the Board to revoke his license means he will be back to wrecking more havoc on women. People wonder how Gosnell continues to operate for so long, but the Pendergraft case explains it. Oversight agencies are just too slow to revoke abortion offenders.”

More about Pendergraft’s sordid background can be found at AbortionDocs.org.

LifeNews.com Note: Cheryl Sullenger is a leader of Operation Rescue, a Kansas-based pro-life that monitors abortion practitioners and exposes their illegal and unethical practices. The group is known for serving as a watchdog of Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses.

Pinellas County politicians wasting money defending themselves in lawsuit to limit their terms

Philip Blumel from Florida Term Limits Blog reports:

May 2nd is approaching and four Pinellas County commissioners are worried. In December, a circuit court judge refused to dismiss the suit against them for violating their legal term limits. Now they face a judge again on May 2 in the final hearing of the case.

In 1996, 73% of Pinellas voters passed 8-year term limits but these renegade commissioners refused to insert the term limits amendment language into the charter as required by law. Then when term limits went into effect 8 years later, they refused to step down.  After all, the language isn’t in the charter!

Citizens were outraged and, after friendly court decisions around the state including a unanimous Florida Supreme Court decision that term limits are constitutional, they filed suit. The three plaintiffs on the people’s side represent diverse political, ethnic, professional and geographical faces of Pinellas County. This is appropriate as term limits are not a Republican versus Democrat issue but one of the people versus unchecked political power.

Shortly after the adverse decision in December, the commissioners doubled their legal team adding four additional lawyers. Yes, that’s right, they spending an enormous amount of the people’s money to fight the clearly expressed will of the people. And why? To directly benefit themselves.

In addition to lawyering up, commissioner Ken Welch publicly declared in February that he is seeking another position in local government and may not serve his full term. One of the reasons, he said, is that the judge may decide he cannot serve his full term. The plaintiffs hope part of the reason also is that he knows resigning is the right thing to do. Fellow scofflaws Karen Seel, John Morroni and Susan Latvala should follow Welch’s lead.

Citizens may attend the hearing at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 2nd at the Pinellas County Courthouse, 315 Court Street, Courtroom C, Clearwater.For more detail on the case, go here.

Of Florida’s 20 charter, or “home rule” counties, 12 have term limits. Miami-Dade voters just approved 8-year limits last November. In all but one of the dozen, the popular term limits laws are respected and enforced. It is hoped that on May 2 the citizens will triumph and a decade of political corruption in this beautiful county will be swept away.

(Pictured, the three plaintiffs Maria Scruggs, H. Patrick Wheeler and Beverley Billiris.)

Illegal aliens receive $Billions Yearly via IRS Loophole

As part of National Tax Burden Month WDW –  Florida presents this column with videos of well known and documented tax fraud.

NBC Eyewitness News 13 in Indiana reports on a massive IRS tax loophole which provides over $4 billion per year in tax credits to millions of illegal aliens. In many cases recipients of American taxpayers’ misused monies have never set foot in the United States.

Watch this exposé put together by News 13 investigative reporter Bob Segall. He spent three months looking into this tax loophole:

Indiana is approximately 1700 miles northeast of the Mexican border.

A device known as the Additional Child Tax Credit is being used to pay for children living in Mexico — who have never lived here. One illegal admitted through an interpreter that his address is being used to file tax returns for numerous children, including multiple nieces and nephews. “If the opportunity is there and they give it [to him] why not take advantage of it?” he asked in Spanish. As a stunning example, thousands in tax credits have been awarded to an illegal alien who claimed 20 children live in a single trailer, that actually housed just one little girl.

“Our tax code should not reward those who enter the country illegally,” said Rep. Vern Buchanan (FL-13). “This is unacceptable, which is why last year I voted to immediately end the abuse of the Child Tax Credit by requiring those filing a claim to provide a Social Security number – a requirement that would save taxpayers $10 billion over the next decade.”

The IRS is aware of the magnitude of this fraud yet has done nothing to rectify it. In fact, this is the IRS website giving ten tips on how to apply. The application forms are easily downloadable.

J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration says report after report sent from his office has been ignored by the IRS. 

Watch the below video as the Honorable J. Russell George, Inspector General, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, delivers his opening statement at an oversight hearing on Administration of the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit. October 22, 2009.

Florida Senator Abruzzo (D-District 25) accused of cronyism

Senator Joseph Abruzzo, Democrat – Senate District 25.

Daniel B. Krassner, Executive Director Integrity Florida in a letter to Florida Senator Joseph Abruzzo, Democrat – Senate District 25, states, “We understand that your request for the review of Palm Beach County’s Ethics Commission came less than a week after your legislative assistant, Philip Massa, failed to get the Ethics Commission’s executive director job.  Your financial disclosures indicate that you work for a law firm that represents the City of Boca Raton as a client, an entity under the jurisdiction of the Palm Beach County Ethics Commission.”

Cronyism is defined as, “Favoritism shown to old friends without regard for their qualifications, as in political appointments to office.”

Krassner’s letter ends with, “We respectfully request that you petition President Gaetz to withdraw his directive for an OPPAGA review of the Palm Beach County Ethics Commission, which would likely save Florida taxpayers thousands of dollars and increase public trust.”

According to Krassner, “An OPPAGA review of the Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics, which was created in May 2010, would be premature for such a new entity and a massive waste of taxpayer resources. As you know, OPPAGA projects often take between 1500-2000 hours of staff time at an average rate of $75 per staff hour plus expenses for travel and other needs. An OPPAGA review of such a small entity seems more than overkill.”

“In fiscal year 2011-2012, the Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics expended just eighty-eight percent of budgeted expenditures, a savings of four percentage points over projected savings, a savings of approximately $70,000 to taxpayers. In 2011, the National Association of Counties presented its Achievement Award to Palm Beach County for its sweeping ethics reform measures. With just five full-time staff and a budget of approximately $500,000, the Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics has delivered significant results and earned a reputation for honesty, integrity and character,” noted Krassner.

On November 29, 2012, Florida State University’s LeRoy Collins Institute (LCI) and Integrity Florida released the latest Tough Choices report that analyzes Florida’s local governments’ ethics reforms and policies. While Florida’s statewide ethics laws have been essentially frozen in time since Governor Reubin O’D. Askew championed reform in the 1970s, the report finds ethics reforms at the county and city level are alive and growing.

According to U.S. Department of Justice data, from 2000 – 2010, Florida led the nation in federal public corruption convictions.

While some of these convictions have been of state officials, many of these corruption scandals have involved local government officials. Florida Counties Bridge the Ethics Policy Gap analyzed survey results on ethical programs and reforms in 45 of Florida’s 67 counties focusing on the areas of ethics policy, ethics enforcement, lobbying, campaign financing and procurement.

Read Integrity Florida’s County Ethics Report “Tough Choices” here.

Rubio: States need a refund

Congress should authorize them to return federal spending to pay down the debt.

While American families everywhere are cutting costs, Washington still can’t seem to rein in its reckless spending, leaving our national debt skyrocketing to the detriment of future generations. This neglect of our fiscal health is unacceptable. It is imperative we begin paying down the debt — starting yesterday.

Excessive and ineffective spending is an important cause of our growing debt, yet states have little say in what happens to federal money if they choose not to spend it. They essentially have two choices: use it, or lose it to someone else. There is no option to stop those funds from being spent elsewhere, which is why I am reintroducing the Returned Exclusively for Unpaid National Debt, or “REFUND,” Act next week in the Senate.

The REFUND Act will allow states to identify and return unwanted federal funds to the federal treasury for the specific purpose of paying down the national debt. This prevents the Treasury from continuing its current practice of spending the returned funds elsewhere, which provides no real incentive for states to turn away federal funds.

The legislation would also end today’s “use it or lose it” mentality, which encourages states to take debt-financed money from Washington. For example, two years ago, the state of Florida was allocated $2.4 billion in federal stimulus funds for a high-speed-railway project, but turned down the money because it would have put the state on the hook for more spending in the long run. The money was then offered under a new bidding process for other states to fund their own high-speed-rail programs. Under the REFUND Act, Florida would have been able to use that money toward paying down our $16 trillion debt.

The national debt is a crushing burden to our children and grandchildren; many state officials and leaders realize this and want to make responsible decisions to help alleviate that burden. These fiscally responsible states should be allowed to divert Washington’s spending spree toward debt reduction and do their part to end the practice of spending money we don’t have.

Read more at National Review Online.

VIDEO: Buchanan Tax Reform panel raises disturbing future without major changes

Congressman Vern Buchanan (FL-13) hosted a panel on Tax Reform on March 29, 2013. Buchanan is the only member of the powerful US House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee from Florida. The panel members were:

  • Neal Boortz is a former nationally syndicated radio talk show host who co-wrote the Fair Tax Book with former Congressman John Linder. The book calls for the replacement of the income tax with a consumption tax.
  • Dan Mitchell is a senior fellow with the Cato Institute, which is a public policy research organization dedicated to the principals of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace. Mitchell is an expert on tax reform and a strong advocate of a flat tax.
  • National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)/Florida Chairman Jerry Pierce. The NFIB is is the leading small business association representing small and independent businesses. The NFIB supports modifications to provide tax relief and certainty to small businesses.
  • Susan Nilon is the general manager of WSRQ radio, a radio show host and writer who advocates a progressive tax that taxes wealthy individuals at a higher rate than low income individuals.

The forum was moderated by WWSB/ABC 7 news anchor John McQuiston.

Watch the METV video of the entire panel discussion:

Every panel member opened by saying the current income tax system is broken. Susan Nilon asked if there was the political will to actually fix it. Each panel member addressed their solution to fix the system, ranging from repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment (which created the progressive income tax) to returning to a simpler form of taxation.

Of note was all agreed the current progressive tax system has failed. Boortz pointed out that progressive taxation was first outlined in the Communist Manifesto. Boortz, speaking for the Fair Tax, said that repeal was the best solution long term. Both CATO’s Dan Mitchell and NFIB’s Jerry Pierce agreed. Pierce noted that this was not the official NFIB position but his alone.

John McQuiston, the moderator, asked if changing the current system in any meaningful was was politically possible. Mitchell noted that during the 1990s Congress passed meaningful welfare reform and likened the tax reform challenge as doable. Congressman Buchanan indicated that from his meetings with President Obama and others that there is a six month window of opportunity to make meaningful changes.

The Fair Tax was most discussed by panel members. Mitchell noted that even though he was on the panel to represent the flat tax he had debated in favor of the Fair Tax. Nolan was concerned that the low income taxpayers would be negatively impacted. Boortz pointed out that under the Fair Tax, those making minimum wage would see a negative 23% tax while those making $31,000 would have a zero tax bill.

The issue of tax loop holes for corporations came up  repeatedly. Corporations like GE have lobbyists who are paid to insure they pay no taxes and these lobbyists have been successful. Boortz pointed out that corporations pay no taxes. Rather individual stockholders and the consumers bear the burden of the taxes levied on the products and services provided by corporations.

The question of charitable deductions came up. Mitchell pointed out that all academic studies of charitable giving show that two things drive individuals to give – wealth and disposable income. For example the bill signed by President Obama in January limits itemized deductions for those making over $450,000 to 3%. The closing of loopholes already includes limiting deductions for high wealth individuals.

During the presentation the audience showed its appreciation for the panel and Rep. Buchanan by their applause. Boortz pointed out this type of event is critical if tax reform is to take place. Without the power of the people nothing will happen. Boortz pointed out that with the implementation of the Fair Tax and elimination of the progressive income tax, “it will be the greatest transfer of power from government to the people since the American revolution.”

At the end of the discussion both Rep. Buchanan and Jerry Pierce warned that the United States faces a financial meltdown in the next 3 to 8 years. Mitchell noted that by 2040 Greece spending will be at 300% of their GDP, while America’s spending will be at 450% of GDP. The disaster is eminent noted Rep. Buchanan but he believe a bi-partisan agreement is possible within the next six months.

If none is reached then America’s fiscal downfall is set. The question is not if, but when.

IG Report: Enterprise Florida’s corporate welfare process a mess

Governor Rick Scott today released the Florida Chief Inspector General’s report on Digital Domain. Digital Domain received $20 million in taxpayer funding to “create jobs” in the state. According to the Executive Summary:

The process designed to award economic development incentive funding under the Quick Action Closing Fund (QACF) statute did not result in a recommendation by Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) to the Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development (OTTED). Concurrent to that statutory process, Digital Domain sought alternative means to obtain funding. In 2009, the funds for QACF that were unexpended in Fiscal Year (FY) 2008-2009, were reverted by the Legislature, appropriated within the same fiscal year to OTTIED and were awarded to recipients including Digital Domain, without the requirement to follow the statutory process for awarding QACF awards.

Although a statutorily prescribed process in place for determining Digital Domain’s eligibility for a QACF award did not result in a recommendation to fund Digital Domain an award of $20 million to Digital Domain still occurred. [My emphasis]

“There needs to be more oversight and accountability of the public’s money,” said Dan Krassner, executive director of the independent government watchdog group Integrity Florida.

Krassner states, “The report makes it clear that Enterprise Florida offered Digital Domain more than $6 million from the closing fund. Unfortunately, Enterprise Florida still appears to be utilizing an insufficient vetting process. Enterprise Florida made several incentive deals with companies just in the last year that have gone bankrupt, including one headed by a convicted cocaine trafficker.”

Companies should not be allowed to circumvent the process but they continue to do so.

“Gov. Scott guaranteed 1,000 new jobs from Northrop Grumman in his State of the State speech. After the speech, Enterprise Florida sat down with the company to negotiate how much money the company wants. How could taxpayers possibly get a good deal with that flawed process? Integrity Florida is encouraged to see bipartisan efforts by lawmakers to increase accountability and transparency of incentive deals,” notes Krassner.

The IG report states, “Testimony supported that although improvements have been made to statutes and processes since 2009, an award similar to the one to Digital Domain could happen again today if the Legislature appropriates funds and gives the Executive Branch the discretion to expend those funds.”  [My emphasis]

The Chief Inspector General made the following recommendations:

Therefore, We recommend that the DEO conduct a formal evaluation of the current statutory provisions to ensure the incentive authority, waiver authority and time frames for evaluation and decision making adequately protect the state’s interests and determine if recommendations for enhancements should be made to the Legislature.

We also recommend that DEO and EFI conduct a review of the economic development incentive processes so that recommendations for improvement may be considered such as documentation and codification of the complete decision making process.

Finally we recommend that DEO and EFI define and codify the process to be followed when DEO’s Division of Strategic Business Development and EFI staff disagree on whether to fund a project. At a minimum, this process should include full disclosure in writing to ensure transparency of the rationale for the ñnal decision.

Governor Scott issued the following statement:

“This Inspector General report shows two things – first, our current economic project vetting process is in place for a reason, and second, that process was clearly circumvented by the previous administration for the Digital Domain deal. We must ensure Florida has the tools needed to compete for economic investment, but we must also ensure that competitive process includes protocols to safeguard taxpayer dollars by focusing on a return on investment.”

Miami/Dade reveils first ever election fraud cyber-attack

Tom Tillison from BizPac Review reports:

A cyber attack against an online election system in Florida last year appears to be a historic first in terms of voter fraud, NBC News reports.

More than 2,500 “phantom requests” for absentee ballots were made through the Miami-Dade County elections website,according to a grand jury report on problems in the Aug. 14 primary election.

The attempt to illegally obtain absentee ballots using a computer program is the first known case in the U.S., according to computer scientists and lawyers working to safeguard voting security.

NBC News reports that “because of the enormous number of requests – and the fact that most were sent from a small number of computer IP addresses in Ireland, England, India and other overseas locations – software used by the county flagged them and elections workers rejected them.”

. . .

There are few answers about who was behind the “phantom requests,” which targeted Democratic voters in the 26th Congressional District and Republicans in Florida House districts 103 and 112, according to the Miami Herald.

Read the full column here.