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Obama Claims to be “Scandal Free”? Not so Fast!

The Obama administration has finally come to an end; I believe we will all benefit from a new vision and direction. I would have foregone writing this article had it not been for the outrageous comments, a perversion of the facts and reality, that were made by pundits and press secretary at the time Josh Earnest, to the effect that the Obama administration was one of the most scandal free in recent memory. Although after the fact and some might say why bother now, if not for any other reason, but for history’s sake, let’s set the record straight. The following are overviews of what most believe were scandals that plagued the Obama administration.

IRS AND THE TEA PARTY:        

In 2013, the IRS singled out for scrutiny certain political groups that were seeking tax-exempt status. A federal investigation ensued and it was revealed that the most sought after groups were exclusively conservative, especially those with the “Tea Party” moniker. Although there were a few liberal groups scrutinized, most believed this was just a measure to dissuade any questions of selective enforcement, the overwhelming majority were conservative.

Investigations continued through October 2015, following a Senate Finance Committee report, the Justice Department notified Congress that it was closing its investigation and that no charges, which outraged republicans, would be filed against any IRS official. This included Lois Lerner who when testifying before congress, refused to cooperate and invoked her 5th Amendment rights. Ms. Lerner eventually resigned her position. It was the Justice Departments contention that this episode was due to poor communication and mismanagement, and not an intentional effort to undermine conservative groups. In June of 2016 the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted to censure the head of the IRS John Koskinen.

FAST & FURIOUS:        

In 2009 the Federal Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Agency (ATF), in a concerted effort to stop the flow of guns being taken across the southern border into Mexico for use in the deadly drug war by cartels, initiated what would eventually be known as Fast and Furious. Arizona, a state with little, if any, gun restrictions, had an open gun market selling thousands of firearms to anyone, in quantities unchecked. Many of these made their way across the border.

In December of 2010 Mexican criminals attacked a border patrol unit and killed agent Brian Terry. Several months later in an interview agent John Dobson revealed that his superiors intentionally allowed American firearms to cross the border into the hands of the cartel leaders so they could track them, it was believed this was the cause of agent Terry’s murder. Unlike the Bush administration that had a similar program, the weapons had no tracking devices on them.

Following this revelation, the Obama administration found itself caught up in the maelstrom of this disaster and accused of being complicit in the Fast and Furious scandal, which lead to Attorney General Eric Holder testifying before congressional hearings on a number of occasions. An investigation by the Justice Department’s Inspector General eventually lead to the several resignations.

In June 2011 conservatives and republican Representative Darrell Issa, head of the House Committee on Oversight Reform demanded to know who authorized Fast and Furious, and charged the Justice Department which oversee the ATF with “having blood on their hands”.

VETERANS ADMINISTRATION:      

In 2014 revelations surfaced that the Veterans Administration (VHA) was guilty of a pattern of neglect in its treatment of the men and women of the military. The charge stemmed from VA hospitals not meeting policy guidelines that stipulated patients appointments must be attended to within a 14 day period. There were charges that in some cases hospital staff erroneously reported that the 14 day period was met, when in fact it was not.

Internal investigations by the VHA Inspector General revealed that 35 patients died while waiting to be attended to at the Phoenix, Arizona VHA alone. Defenders of the VHA cried foul; it was their contention that the 14 day wait period was unreasonable, especially in those facilities that were understaffed. One New York Times columnist complained that the entire episode was an effort by republicans and conservatives to discredit the Obama administration. Further investigation and a VHA internal audit revealed 120,000 never got the care they required.

Investigations by the FBI and Obama administration found significant systems failure and a culture of corruption inside the Veterans Health Administration. Eventually the top health official at the VHA was forced to resign, followed in May 2014 by the Secretary of Veteran Affairs Eric Shinseki. In August 2014, President Obama signed legislation pertaining to funding and reform of the VHA.

SOLYNDRA:      

Solyndra was a manufacturer of solar panels composed of thin-film solar cells. It employed unconventional technology and utilized materials that differed from the conventional silicon. Under the 2009 American Recovery and reinvestment Act, and Barack Obama’s economic stimulus program, Solyndra received $535 million loan guarantees from the U.S. Energy Department.

In August of 2011 Solyndra filed for bankruptcy and chapter 11 protections. It terminated all 1100 employees, and closed down all operations. Shortly thereafter the FBI began an investigation; agents raided the company and questioned the CEO and company founder, and seized computer files and documents.

In September of 2011 the U.S. Treasury Department launched an investigation and criminal probe into whether the company was guilty of fraud by falsifying its financial standing with the government to obtain the loan. The Bloomberg news service also reported that the company’s three quarters of a billion dollar facility showed signs of lavish and extravagant spending.

BENGHAZI:  

On September 11, 2012, exactly 11 years following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, an Islamist militants group, Ansar al-Sharia attacked the U.S. diplomat compound in Benghazi, Libya. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and Foreign Service officer Sean Smith were killed in the attack. Approximately 6 hours later, September 12, the CIA annex about one mile away was attacked by mortar fire, killed were contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, ten others were wounded.

When word reached the United States, there was anger and outrage and calls for an immediate military response. The State Department under the leadership of Hillary Clinton, and other U.S. officials, at first attributed the attacks to an internet anti-Muslim video, “Innocence of Muslims”.

In an effort to assuage the outcry and shouts of blame for the heinous attacks, the video excuse was promulgated by the Obama administration and State Department officials, who were uncooperative in responding to republicans request for information. Most will remember what occurred Sunday September 16 on five morning television talk shows, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, using CIA talking points that attributed the attacks to a violent spontaneous protest by an infuriated people, when in fact it was later proved that the attacks were premeditated by militant groups. There was also information revealed that another reason for the attack was that hours earlier there were protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt.

Why did the Obama administration continue to insist the attacks were the result of a video, I believe the answer was that they did not want to upset the Muslim community, so they pointed the finger of blame at America and one of its citizens, instead of the truth.

On September 20 Hillary Clinton gave a classified briefing to Senators. Republicans were angered by the Obama administration’s refusal to give details on the Benghazi attacks. Further investigations revealed that repeated requests by Ambassador Stevens for needed funds to ensure the safety of his people and property, went unanswered.

NOTE: There are other scandals, we can deal with them another time.

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The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by iPatriot.com.

BOB PASCARELLA

> Authored book, "Short Stories in Verse" > Wrote booklet on Civics for NYC schools > Have written articles for local newspaper > have poetry included in American Poetry Society volumes

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