Columbus, Ohio – After nearly two and a half years of fighting for its legal right to “tax exempt” status as a non-profit corporation, the Ohio Liberty Coalition was notified today by the IRS that the organization is indeed exempt from Federal Income Tax under section 501(c) (4) of the Internal Revenue Code. For years, the IRS had been denying TEA Party and Liberty Groups across the nation a status that many unions and liberal groups had routinely been awarded. The OLC lead a national fight to protect the rights of these groups and was rewarded today with this IRS ruling.
In making the announcement, OLC President Tom Zawistowski said “We owe this success to Jay Sekulow and his staff, particularly Miles Terry, at the American Center for Law and Justice, without whom we could not have continued our fight. Jay and Miles were relentless in defending the rights of TEA Party and Liberty Groups who were being unfairly denied “tax exempt” status by the IRS. After we informed the IRS on February 16, 2012 that we would not comply with their intrusive and unconstitutional demands for information about our organization, the ACLJ stepped up and offered to represent us. They were able to show that much of the information being demanded by the IRS was in fact not required under the tax code. It is our belief that our victory today will pave the way for other liberty groups around the nation to replicate our success.”
The Ohio Liberty Coalition is a coalition of Ohio Liberty Groups whose purpose is to unite conservative grassroots organizations for greater effectiveness in the state and nation, and to provide resources for member organizations to strengthen their groups. The OLC currently has over 75 liberty-minded groups across Ohio who are members of its coalition.
We’re a little over two weeks away from the fiscal cliff, and Washington still doesn’t have any answers when it comes to sequestration. What’s worse is that back in October (during the peak of campaign season), President Obama said unequivocally that the sequester “will not happen,” only to shift gears entirely last week when Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that they were “absolutely” prepared to go off the cliff – and that, by the way, the Pentagon should start planning accordingly. Since Washington has been consumed by a debate on tax rates, there’s still no plan to offset the sequester, and the mixed messages coming from the White House are leaving military families, federal agencies and businesses guessing who to trust.
Gretchen Hamel, executive director of Public Notice, issued the following statement:
“The mixed messages on the sequester from this administration create exactly the kind of uncertainty that has paralyzed the economy for the past several years. The American people can’t be expected to decipher every time Washington is just playing politics with a wink and a nod. For firms that find themselves in violation of the WARN Act and for the taxpayers, the administration owes an explanation if there will be penalties, how much they will cost, and who will pay for them.”
AS SEQUESTRATION MOVES AHEAD, MIXED MESSAGES FROM THE WHITE HOUSE CAUSING AGENCIES TO SCRAMBLE
“Cuts looming, no answer in sight for sequestration” (Phillip Ewing, “Cuts looming, no answer in sight for sequestration,” POLITICO, 12/11/12)
“No Roadmap in Sequester” (David Lawder, “Congress, dreading automatic cuts, eyes yet another trigger,” Reuters, 12/11/12)
For All The Apocalyptic Rhetoric, Nothing Has Been Able To Stop Sequestration. “They’ve tried everything they could think of and so far, none of it has worked. The Pentagon hasn’t been able to get Congress to undo sequestration. … For all the apocalyptic rhetoric, the hours upon hours of hearings, the threats and counterthreats and the dread that built with each tick of the countdown, the defense establishment has little progress to show as it enters the final days before it faces a decade of $500 billion in automatic, across-the-board budget restrictions.” (Philip Ewing, “Cuts looming, no answer in sight for sequestration,” POLITICO, 12/11/12)
AFTER SPENDING THE LAST FEW MONTHS TELLING BUSINESSES NOT TO PREPARE FOR CUTS, THE WHITE HOUSE CHANGED ITS TUNE
The Obama Administration Promised The Sequester “Will Not Happen” And Said Preparing For It Would Be “Inappropriate.”
“Obama: Defense Sequester ‘Will Not Happen.’” (Lori Montgomery, “Obama: Defense sequester ‘will not happen,’” Washington Post, 10/22/12)
Labor Department Called Preparing For Sequestration “Inappropriate.” ”The Labor Department issued guidance in July saying it would be ‘inappropriate’ for contractors to issue notices of potential layoffs tied to sequestration cuts.” (Jeremy Herb, “Obama administration tells contractors again: Don’t issue layoff notices,” The Hill, 9/28/12)
The Office Of Management And Budget Also Promised Compensation For Contractors – But Only If They Followed Labor’s Guidance. “Friday guidance from the Office of Management and Budget raised the stakes in the dispute, telling contractors that they would be compensated for legal costs if layoffs occur due to contract cancellations under sequestration — but only if the contractors follow the Labor guidance.” (Jeremy Herb, “Obama administration tells contractors again: Don’t issue layoff notices,” The Hill, 9/28/12)
From the OMB Letter: ”Specifically, if (1) sequestration occurs and an agency terminates or modifies a contract that necessitates that the contractor order a plant closing or mass layoff of a type subject to WARN Act requirements, and (2) that contractor has followed a course of action consistent with DOL guidance; then any resulting employee·compensation costs for WARN Act liability as determined by a court, as well as attorneys’ fees and other litigation costs (irrespective of litigation outcome), would qualify as allowable costs and be covered by the contracting agency, if otherwise reasonable and allocable.” (“Memorandum for the Financial Officers and Senior Procurement Executives of Executive Departments and Agencies,” Office of Management and Budget, 9/28/12)
And Defense Secretary Leon Panetta Is Telling Departments “Do Not Plan For [Sequestration].” ”Lt. Gen. Jeffrey W. Talley, chief of the Army Reserve, reflected the this-isn’t-really-going-to-happen strategy when he told reporters in November, ’I’m not . . . worrying about sequestration . . . because [Defense] Secretary [Leon E.] Panetta has told the departments, ‘Do not plan for it.’’” (Lisa Rein, “Agencies set up plans to manage cuts if Congress, Obama fail to reach deficit deal, Washington Post, 12/7/12)
But Now The White House Is “Absolutely” Prepared To Go Over The Cliff And Says It’s Time For The Pentagon, Federal Agencies To Start Planning Accordingly:
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner: Administration “Absolutely” Prepared To Go Over Cliff. “President Barack Obama’s administration will ‘absolutely’ let the United States fall off the fiscal cliff as scheduled, unless Republicans give in to his Obama’s demand to raise tax rates at upper income levels, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Wednesday.” (“Geithner: Obama Administration ‘Absolutely’ Willing To Go Off Fiscal Cliff,” Associated Press, 12/6/12)
White House Tells The Pentagon To Start Planning For Sequestration (On The Same Day). “The Pentagon said on Wednesday the White House budget office has directed it to begin planning how to implement billions of dollars in across-the-board spending reductions if Congress and the president fail to agree to avert the cuts before January 2.” (David Alexander, “After months of delay, Pentagon told to plan for ‘fiscal cliff’,” Reuters, 12/6/12)
“Pentagon press secretary George Little said last week that the Defense Department had begun planning for how to deal with sequestration, after more than a year of insisting it would not prepare.” (Philip Ewing, “Cuts looming, no answer in sight for sequestration,” POLITICO, 12/11/12)
“The administration has repeatedly said it wants a deal to avoid indiscriminate cuts. But last week, as a precaution, it ordered agencies to lock in a plan for sharply reduced spending in case a deal does not come to pass.” (“Federal agencies brace for possible cuts,” New York Times, 12/11/12)
MILITARY FAMILIES, FEDERAL AGENCIES, BUSINESSES AND LAWMAKERS ARE GROWING INCREASINGLY CONCERNED BY THE LACK OF CLARITY
Sequestration Has Been “Pushed To The Side” In Washington. ”[A]s a few observers predicted months ago, the potential plight of the Pentagon and its constituents isn’t even the main event as the year winds to a close. It’s been pushed to the side. Defense analyst Mackenzie Eaglen of the conservative American Enterprise Institute warned as far back as May that if Beltway denizens expected November’s election to deliver a decisive end to the battle over sequestration, they were sadly mistaken.” (Phillip Ewing, “Cuts looming, no answer in sight for sequestration,” POLITICO, 12/11/12)
Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.) Calls Lack Of Discussion “Shameful.” ”‘The bottom line is that it’s [sequestration] not being addressed … I thought the president said during the campaign that sequestration wasn’t going to happen. … We’ve heard nothing from anybody on it… We should have been working on it long before we got back. … It’s shameful that we’re not working on it.‘” (Philip Ewing, “Cuts looming, no answer in sight for sequestration,” POLITICO, 12/11/12)
Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) Pledges To Block Taxpayer Funds To Cover Costs Of WARN Act. “‘The WARN Act is the law of the land today, and its provisions mandate that companies must notify employees who may lose their jobs due to sequestration,’ McCain said in the statement. ‘Companies have a choice whether to rely on OMB’s politically-motivated guidance or to comply with the law. But I can assure them that I will do everything in my power to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to compensate contractors who do not comply with the law.’” (John T. Bennett, “McCain Would Block Funding Shifts To Cover Firms’ Sequestration Costs,” Defense News, 10/3/12)
Military Families Growing Increasingly Nervous. ”Troops and their families nervously watch and wait. ‘When members of Congress start blathering on about ‘sequestration’ and ‘defense cuts’ and ‘the fiscal cliff,’ most Americans have a hard time figuring out what that stuff means to them. But not military families,’ wrote Army wife Amy Bushatz on the blog SpouseBuzz.com.” (Philip Ewing, “Cuts looming, no answer in sight for sequestration,” POLITICO, 12/11/12)
No Answers Causing Concern For Federal Agencies. ”‘We have persistently asked the agency, ‘What are the plans? Can you tell us the plans?’’ said Carolyn Federoff, a Boston-based attorney for the Department of Housing and Urban Development and an official with the American Federation of Government Employees. ‘They say, ‘Don’t worry about this, this is not going to be a problem,’’ Federoff said. ‘Truthfully, we have to be concerned.’” (Lisa Rein, “Agencies set up plans to manage cuts if Congress, Obama fail to reach deficit deal, Washington Post, 12/7/12)
Small Defense Businesses Say “No Choice But To Reduce Workforce Size” If Sequestration Takes Place. “Squeezed by looming defense cuts and the expiring Bush-era tax cuts, the defense industry’s small businesses are facing uniquely big problems. … ’Combined with sequestration, we would have no choice but to reduce workforce size,’ said Raj Narayanan, vice president of business development for Carbon-Carbon Advanced Technologies in Kennedale, Texas. His firm’s 45 or so employees work on the vehicle structures for rockets and hypersonic aircraft.” (Tim Mak, “Small defense businesses face big woes,” POLITICO, 11/29/12)
If Sequestration Proceeds, Lockhead Martin Could Be Forced To Lay Off 8% Of Its Workforce. “Lockheed Martin … has told Congress that across-the-board reductions could result in layoffs of 10,000 employees out of the company’s 120,000 workers.” (“Labor Department says no need for warnings on layoffs,” Associated Press, 7/30/12)
STILL NO PROGRESS ON A SOLUTION, WASHINGTON MULLS ANOTHER SHORT-TERM FIX
Congress Likely To Punt On Cuts Again With Another Trigger Next Summer. “Of the many distasteful elements to the year-end ‘fiscal cliff’ that Washington is desperately trying to avoid, few are more loathed than the automatic, indiscriminate spending cuts scheduled to begin on January 2. Yet a repeat of this agonizing drama could play out next summer. That is because Congress, as part of deal to avert the year-end fiscal cliff of steep tax increases and across-the-board budget cuts, is likely to enact another forcing mechanism, or trigger, to make sure it keeps its latest round of deficit-reduction promises.” (David Lawder, “Congress, dreading automatic cuts, eyes yet another trigger,” Reuters, 12/11/12)
REPEAT: Anonymous Donor contacted my program and is offering $1,000 for info leading to the arrest of the thug who assaulted @scrowder .
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) December 11, 2012
After Four Years Of Trillion Dollar Deficits Democrats Want The Government To Spend Even More
Spending Boom: $1.8 Trillion to $3.6 Trillion In 10 Years
SEN. MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Think about it: the federal government spent $1.8 trillion in 2001 and $3.6 trillion last year. These are nominal dollars, I realize, but by any measure the size of government has grown beyond its means. Government spending is totally out of control. We need to start acting like it.” (Sen. McConnell, Floor Remarks, 12/11/12)
2001 Total Outlays: $1,862,846 [million] (“The Budget For Fiscal Year 2013,” The White House, Historical Tables – Table 1.1, 2/13/12)
2011 Total Outlays: $3,603,061 [million] (“The Budget For Fiscal Year 2013,” The White House, Historical Tables – Table 1.1, 2/13/12)
What Are They Spending It On?
SEN. MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “A few weeks ago, Senator Coburn issued a study that showed taxpayers are funding Moroccan pottery classes, promoting shampoo and other beauty products for cats and dogs, and a video game that allows them to relive prom night. Get this: taxpayers also just spent $325,000 on a Robotic squirrel name RoboSquirrel.” (Sen. McConnell, Floor Remarks, 12/11/12)
$325,000 FOR A ROBOSQUIRREL: “This might sound a bit nutty, but U.S. researchers are using robot squirrels to learn more about how real ones interact with their main predator, rattlesnakes.” (“’Robosquirrel’ Deployed To Research Relationship With Rattlesnakes,” CNN, 4/4/12)
· “Understanding predator-prey signaling interactions: the dynamics of antisnake displays in ground squirrels and kangaroo rats. … Awarded Amount to Date: $325,000.00.” (“Award Abstract #0951010,” National Science Foundation, 9/21/11)
· “[T]his project will… [help] engineers to develop next-generation robotic technologies for the study of animal behavior.” (“Award Abstract #0951010,” National Science Foundation, 9/21/11)
$516,000 FOR A PROM VIDEO GAME: “Students and faculty at University of California, Santa Cruz are releasing their new online game today … revisiting that socially-fraught period of high school: Prom Week. Choose a character out of 18 high school students and a setting (lockers, classroom, or parking lot?) and start texting.” (“Prom Week: The Next Angry Birds?,” Discovery News, 2/14/12)
· National Science Foundation Amount Awarded: $516,000.00 (“Award Abstract #0747522,” National Science Foundation, 4/15/08)
$505,000 FOR PET SHAMPOO EQUIPMENT: “$505,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to Sarpy County to aid Sergeant’s Pet Care Products, Inc. … The grant will provide $500,000 to help purchase machinery and equipment to be used in the manufacture of pet products, including… pet shampoos and pet toothpaste.” (“$505,000 In CDBG Funds For Sarpy County Expansion,” Press Release, 3/19/12)
A MOROCCAN POTTERY PROJECT: “On December 3, 2009, USAID/Morocco entered into a 4-year, $27 million task order … to implement the Morocco Economic Competitiveness Project.” (“Audit Of USAID/Morocco’s Economic Competitiveness Project,” USAID Office Of Inspector General, P.5, 12/15/11)
· “…a pottery training activity was poorly implemented and had limited impact.” (“Audit Of USAID/Morocco’s Economic Competitiveness Project,” USAID Office Of Inspector General, P.6, 12/15/11)
· “Participants expressed frustration over the training materials and tools used by the trainer. They noted that the clays and dyes used by the trainer were unavailable for local purchase. Therefore, the techniques demonstrated during the training could not be replicated in Morocco.” (“Audit Of USAID/Morocco’s Economic Competitiveness Project,” USAID Office Of Inspector General, P.6, 12/15/11)
Spending Daily | December 11, 2012
“Federal Agencies Brace for Possible Cuts”
The New York Times reports, “While the Obama administration and Congressional leaders are trying to negotiate a deal to head off billions of dollars in tax increases and automatic spending cuts on Jan. 1, federal agencies are quietly preparing for tighter budgets. … Some 1,200 programs, including airport security, food inspections and drug approvals, could be affected by the automatic cuts. They must be squeezed into the last nine months of the 2013 fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. The administration has repeatedly said it wants a deal to avoid indiscriminate cuts. But last week, as a precaution, it ordered agencies to lock in a plan for sharply reduced spending in case a deal does not come to pass.”
Defense Advocates See Sequestration Becoming More Inevitable
Politico reports, “They’ve tried everything they could think of and so far, none of it has worked. The Pentagon hasn’t been able to get Congress to undo sequestration. Hawks in Congress haven’t gotten their colleagues to agree to undo sequestration. The defense industry tried its hardest to energize voters — and Congress hasn’t undone sequestration. For all the apocalyptic rhetoric, the hours upon hours of hearings, the threats and counterthreats and the dread that built with each tick of the countdown, the defense establishment has little progress to show as it enters the final days before it faces a decade of $500 billion in automatic, across-the-board budget restrictions. … Defense advocates in Congress now lament openly that they see little way to avoid sequestration taking effect. Industry executives who once threatened to embarrass the government into acting now attempt to reassure investors that sequestration wouldn’t be a ‘guillotine,’ but only a ‘speed bump.’ Troops and their families nervously watch and wait.”
House Dems, GOP Urge Defense Spending Cuts for Budget Deal
The Associated Press reports, “Substantial reductions in military spending should be part of any budget deal that President Barack Obama negotiates with Congress to avert the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts, a group of House Republicans and Democrats said Monday. With just three weeks to the double economic hit, 22 lawmakers endorsed further cuts in projected military spending to address the nation’s debt, arguing that long-term, strategic reductions were possible with the end of the war in Iraq and the drawdown in Afghanistan. … It was the clearest signal yet that defense dollars would no longer be spared from budget cuts in a time of astronomical deficits.”
“Preparing for ‘fiscal cliff,’ investors move assets to avoid higher taxes”
The Washington Post reports, “As lawmakers struggle to agree on a plan to avert the series of tax increases looming next year, many investors are taking preemptive action to get out of harm’s way. Americans are moving to sell investment homes, off-load stocks, expand charitable donations and establish tax-sheltering gifts before the end of the year. Financial advisers and accountants say people are trying to avoid the higher taxes that will take effect in 2013 if Washington does not avert the ‘fiscal cliff.’ For the most part, the people moving their assets are the wealthy, who have the most to lose even if a deal is struck. Ordinary Americans also are in line for higher income and payroll taxes and fewer deductions and tax credits if the nation goes over the fiscal cliff. But since most of their earnings come through wages, there is little they can do to minimize the impact.”
Washington Post Co. Taking Steps To Shield Investors From Tax Hikes
The Start Tribune reports, “The Washington Post Co. will pay its 2013 dividends before the end of this year to try to spare investors from anticipated tax increases. The media and education company said Friday that its dividend of $9.80 per share is payable Dec. 27 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 17. The payout is instead of regular quarterly dividends next year. Washington Post is the latest company to move up its quarterly payout or issue a special end-of-year payment to protect investors from potentially having to pay higher taxes on dividend income starting in January.”
Fear and Frustration Spreads Among Voters Over Fiscal Cliff
The Associated Press reports, “Fear and frustration course through the lunch crowd at Robie’s Country Store and Deli, a popular outpost 500 miles from where Washington is again locked in tense negotiations over taxes and spending as a critical deadline looms. ‘I’m worried,’ Lorraine Cadren of nearby Manchester says between bites of her chicken sandwich. Her doubt in the nation’s elected leaders is palpable: ‘I’m not sure what’s going to come out of Washington next.’ Not that she has the time to pay much attention; the 64-year-old is unemployed and preoccupied with finding a new job as Christmas approaches. … Most voters interviewed in recent days are calling for an immediate compromise and seem willing to raise taxes on the wealthy so long as the middle class is protected.”
“Graham to Obama: How about ‘manning up’ on entitlement reform?”
The Hill reports, “Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) suggested President Obama should consider ‘manning up’ to address the deficit and entitlement reform during an interview Monday. ‘You just got reelected. How about doing something big that is not liberal?’ Graham said in an interview with Fox News. ‘How about doing something big that really is bipartisan? Every big idea he has is a liberal idea that drowns us in debt. How about manning up here, Mr. President, and use your mandate to bring this country together to stop us from becoming Greece?’ … Graham also suggested that the president’s call to raise income tax rates on the wealthiest earners was ‘sort of a partisan political trophy’ that Obama was trying to win. And he warned that there was ‘a hardening on the Republican side’ not to agree to raise the debt ceiling without the promise of major entitlement reform.”
U.S. Credit Rating Hangs In the Balance As Each Side’s Plan Grows Debt
The Hill reports, “Deficit-reduction proposals from Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and President Obama fall short of clearly stabilizing the debt, according to budget experts, putting the U.S. credit rating at risk of a downgrade. Under both proposals, U.S. debt would continue to grow as a percentage of gross domestic product, unless the economy grows at a rapid pace, according to experts who have studied the proposals. While some suggest new talks between Obama and Boehner suggest a deal is in reach, they have doubts it will be big enough to meaningfully reduce deficits — or satisfy credit rating agencies. …’If those negotiations lead to specific policies that produce a stabilization and then downward trend in the ratio of federal debt to GDP over the medium term, the rating will likely be affirmed and the outlook returned to stable,’ Moody’s said of the U.S. AAA rating in September. ‘If those negotiations fail to produce a plan that includes such policies, we would expect to lower the rating, probably to Aa1.’”
Exports Plummet: U.S. Trade Deficit Increases Nearly 5% In October
MarketWatch reports, “The U.S. trade deficit increased 4.9% in October to $42.2 billion, as imports of crude oil rose and American exports of manufactured goods fell to the lowest level in nearly a year. Imports of foreign goods into the U.S. declined by 2.1% to $222.8 billion in October, but exports fell by 3.6% to $180.5 billion to account for the wider trade gap, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. U.S. manufacturers are not selling as many goods overseas because of tougher economic conditions in key markets such as Europe. American companies exported fewer industrial supplies, capital goods and food in October. Falling imports, meanwhile, reflect a softer U.S. economy.”
Government Dysfunction Dragging Down California
Bloomberg highlights government mismanagement in California that’s dragging an entire state toward bankruptcy. Bloomberg reports, “Today, the state’s highest-paid employees make far more than comparable workers elsewhere in almost all job and wage categories, from public safety to health care, base pay to overtime. Payroll data compiled by Bloomberg on 1.4 million public employees in the 12 most-populous states show that California has set a pattern of lax management, inefficient operations and out-of-control costs. From coast to coast, states are cutting funding for schools, public safety and the poor as they struggle with fallout left by politicians who made pay-and-pension promises that taxpayers couldn’t afford.” Click here to see how California is leading the way off a cliff of its own.
From the Los Angeles Times:
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, faced with finding a replacement following Sen. Jim DeMint’s sudden retirement, said Monday that she will not appoint a “placeholder appointee.” Talk of such an appointee, who would pledge to serve for just two years before the 2014 election, had been recently fueled by rumors that Haley was looking into barbecue chain magnate Chad Walldorf.
“While there are some good arguments in favor of that approach I believe the better case is against it,” Haley said in a statement. “I do not want to tie the next U.S. Senator for South Carolina’s hands regarding future office.”
“While I am an avid supporter of term limits, I do not want the effectiveness of our state’s new U.S. Senator to be undermined by the fact that he or she will automatically be leaving the office such a very short time after assuming it,” she added.
DeMint, who had served in the Senate since 2004, was a prominent voice of tea party members during the 2010 midterm election and beyond, announced Thursday that he would be retiring in January.
Haley, who has dismissed chatter that she may appoint herself to the open seat, said Friday that she’s looking for “a person who has the same philosophy of government that Jim DeMint and I share.”
That philosophy is pointedly conservative with a particular bend toward the tea party. Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), also a tea party favorite, has been the focal point of speculation, and Haley will notably be making an appearance at a Boeing facility in Scott’s district Tuesday.
With a looming “fiscal cliff” that includes across-the-board spending cuts hovering above Washington, the future of American defense spending is uncertain. What is nearly certain is that the Department of Defense will see additional budget cuts. The pertinent questions are therefore: how much cutting is too much? how much is enough? and how do we cut smartly in order to preserve America’s military might?
Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) believes Congress should undertake serious reforms to defense spending to maintain a sustainable fiscal path that preserves American power. To that end, over the past five months, CVA has produced five “case studies” that examine various examples of defense cuts and reforms, with an eye towards identifying what makes for smart, strategic, and effective defense reforms. The “lessons learned” from each case study will be aggregated into a single document that provides the beginnings of an accessible blueprint for practical defense reform.
As a capstone event , The Weekly Standard’s William Kristol will moderate a panel discussion on December 11th on defense spending, featuring experts in the field—including Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution, who will provide the keynote address. Sponsored by Concerned Veterans for America, the “DEFEND & REFORM: The Future of America’s Defense Spending” event will diagnose defense spending challenges and offer practical solutions.
Speakers will include: United States Senator Lindsey Graham, United States Congressman Tim Griffien, Steve Bucci (The Heritage Foundation) Michael O’Hanlon (Brookings Institution), Pete Hegseth (Concerned Veterans for America), Russell Rumbaugh (Stimson Center) and more.
You are able to tune in to a LIVE stream of our capstone event from 12:00pm – 2:00pm ET. No log in necessary, to connect CLICK HERE.
Concerned Veterans for America [CVA] believes Congress should undertake serious reforms to defense spending to maintain a sustainable fiscal path that preserves American power. To that end, over the past five months, CVA has produced five “case studies” that examine various examples of defense cuts and reforms, with an eye towards identifying what makes for smart, strategic, and effective defense reforms
Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) believes Congress should undertake serious reforms to defense spending to maintain a sustainable fiscal path that preserves American power. To that end, over the past five months, CVA has produced five “case studies” that examine various examples of defense cuts and reforms, with an eye towards identifying what makes for smart, strategic, and effective defense reforms.
In our fifth and final installment of the “Defend and Reform” series, we turn our focus to the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), perhaps one of the most controversial systems in an era of increased fiscal responsibility, and a telling example of dysfunction in Congressional priority-setting and executive branch procurement. The development of this missile system is a textbook example of political turf battles that result in legislator fighting for earmarks without regard for strategic needs.
Previous Concerned Veterans for America case studies have centered on sensible reductions in defense spending (Closure of U.S. Joint Forces Command), reforming administrative practices (Auditing the Pentagon), and reforming weapons procurement (Fielding Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles). Indifferent ways, the first three case studies highlighted examples in which the Pentagon could, and did, do things well. This report is different, focusing on places in the Department of Defense (DoD) budget where a change in spending priorities, large or small, is needed.
In order to save critical and cutting-edge defense programs and capabilities (the “muscle”), DoD must be willing to part ways with certain practices (the “fat”) that are excessive, outdated, or unnecessary. This case study will focus on the Department of the Navy’s alternative fuel source push (the so-called “Green Fleet”), as well as other elements of the defense budget that either need reform or should be eliminated altogether—without undercutting our nation’s strategic capabilities.
“A Moral Imperative: Fielding Mine-Resistant Vehicles” is the latest installment in the ‘Defend & Reform’ Case Study series and you can read it here. In this study we look at the traditional defense acquisition process and why it was bypassed in order to get live-saving vehicles to the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mine resistant vehicles were urgently needed, but the conventional Pentagon bureaucracy couldn’t deliver. Why? How was is bypassed? And is this case study a lesson in how to reform the defense acquisition process?
The ‘Defend & Reform’ Case Study Series includes five case studies and will culminate in a “lessons learned” event in December that will examine various defense reforms and cuts, in order to identify what makes for smart, strategic, and effective defense reforms.
Today, Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) released its second case study in a series launched last month entitled ‘Defend & Reform’. This study is called “Hiding in Plain Sight: Time for a Pentagon Audit.” Did you know that the Department of Defense has never performed an independent audit of its finances? With the national debt now surpassing more than $16 trillion and annual budget deficits exceeding $1 trillion, now is the time. We should seize this moment—with the nation on the edge of a fiscal cliff—to bring greater discipline, transparency and accountability to reforming the defense budget. This study highlights the need for a long overdue audit to the financial operations of the Pentagon.
It’s time for reform. Review our second case study in our Defend & Reform series titled “Hiding in Plain Sight: Time for a Pentagon Audit” and you can read the full case study by clicking below…
Review Part One of a Concerned Veterans for America project, the Defend & Reform Case Study Series. The series—which will include five case studies and culminate in a “lessons learned” event in December—examines various past defense reforms and cuts, in order to identify what makes for smart, strategic, and effective defense reforms.
Our first in the series is titled “One Year Later: The Closing of Joint Forces Command” and you can read the full case study by clicking below…
Clark and Meese lead effort to keep ‘Peace through Strength’ free for all to use;
Admiral says ASCF has been ‘AWOL’ for years;
American Security Council Foundation is accused of ‘a scheme of fraudulent misrepresentation’
WASHINGTON – Top national security aides to former President Ronald Reagan denounced the attempt by a Florida-based group to trademark “Peace through Strength,” the slogan that America’s 40th president made as a hallmark of his successful strategy to end the Cold War.
Two of President Reagan’s closest friends and confidantes, former National Security Advisor William P. Clark and former Counselor to the President Edwin Meese, led a host of top Reagan national security aides criticizing the American Security Council Foundation (ASCF) for its efforts to prevent others from using the Reagan slogan.
Signatories include members of Reagan’s National Security Council staff, White House, State Department and Pentagon officials, and a subsequent director of the CIA. Read the letter to the American Security Council Foundation (PDF)
Last year, ASCF trademarked “Peace through Strength,” a slogan that President Reagan popularized and that the U.S. Navy designated as the official motto of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier that bears The Gipper’s name. ASCF announced its intention to sue anyone using it without their expressed permission.
In October, ASCF filed a federal lawsuit against the Center for Security Policy, a group headed by a former Reagan defense official that, like many groups, has used the slogan for years. On learning of the lawsuit, Clark, Meese and others wrote to ASCF Chairman Henry Fischer, notifying him of their opposition. Fischer is a dentist in Sebastian, Florida, who has headed ASCF since 2002. Excerpts from the bipartisan letter to the ASCF Chairman:
- “We are writing as members of Ronald Reagan’s administration to express our strong opposition to any effort to trademark or otherwise restrict the use of the term ‘Peace through Strength.”
- “For those of us who proudly served with President Reagan, it is unimaginable that anyone would seek to own a phrase immortalized by him – and, as a result, made not only an enduring feature of our country’s political lexicon, but a touchstone for all those who love freedom, and understand what is required to safeguard it.”
- “We agree with our colleague, former Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet Admiral James A. ‘Ace’ Lyons, that our purpose should be to encourage the widest possible and unrestricted application of the phrase ‘Peace through Strength’ and the principle it invokes. We call on you to do no less.”
Admiral Lyons wrote to Fischer in October, saying that “peace through strength” long ago “entered the national psyche as a term no one can properly ‘own.’” He added, “It behooves everyone who truly embraces the principle of peace through strength to be working to expand its application, not restrict it in any way.”
Admiral Lyons told Fischer that he would “strenuously resist any effort to expropriate the term ‘peace through strength’ for the purpose of disallowing its use by others – particularly those who have steadfastly adhered to and exemplified it when your organization has been basically AWOL from this fight.”
‘A scheme of fraudulent misrepresentation’
The Center for Security Policy has responded to ASCF’s lawsuit by declaring that ASCF made a “sworn statement” to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that was “materially false,” that ASCF acted in “bad faith” and “recklessly disregarded the facts,” and was “purposefully misrepresenting material facts to the USPTO” when it applied for the trademark.
The Center’s Answer and Counterclaims in federal district court accused ASCF of “a scheme of fraudulent misrepresentation.” The Center is represented by David Yerushalmi and Robert Muise, both of the American Freedom Law Center. Yerushalmi also serves as the Center’s general counsel. Read the Center for Security’s response to ASCF’s lawsuit (PDF).
When asked to comment after filing the counterclaims against ASCF, Yerushalmi noted, “According to ASCF’s absurd claim to a trademark, apparently even the Republican Party will have to seek ASCF’s permission to include the call for ‘Peace through Strength’ in its political platform going forward. That is how absurd this trademark claim is.”
Signers of the letter
The letter to ASCF, dated December 10, 2012, was signed by the following members of the Reagan national security team. The individuals, with their Reagan-era titles, are as follows:
William P. Clark, National Security Advisor
Edwin Meese, Counselor to the President
Norman A. Bailey, Special Assistant to the President
Diana Denman, Co-Chairman, Peace Corps Advisory Board
Kenneth E. DeGraffenreid, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director, Intelligence Programs, National Security Council
William R. Graham, Science Advisor
Sven Kraemer, Director of Arms Control, National Security Council
Charles M. Kupperman, Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director for White House Administration
Ronald F. Lehman, Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
Robert C. McFarlane, National Security Advisor
Tidal W. McCoy, Secretary of the Air Force (Acting)
Richard N. Perle, Assistant Secretary of Defense
Roger W. Robinson, Jr., Senior Director, International Economic Affairs, National Security Council
William Schneider, Jr., Under Secretary of State for Security Assistance, Science and Technology
Major General John Singlaub (USA Ret.), Advisor on Central America
Michelle Van Cleave, Assistant Director for National Security Affairs, Office of Science and Technology Policy
R. James Woolsey, Chief Negotiator, Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (and future Director of the CIA)
Byron York – It’s possible to have a strong hand and still overplay it. As Republicans see things, that’s what President Obama is doing in the “fiscal cliff” negotiations.
In private conversation, some in the GOP appear a little sheepish about the fact that they once took the president seriously. Even though he had the upper hand after winning re-election, they thought he genuinely wanted to avoid going over the cliff and would negotiate in good faith. Then Obama sent Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to Capitol Hill with a thumb-in-the-eye offer, and Republicans got the message.
In subsequent days, Obama has not only flatly rejected a Republican proposal that, unlike Obama’s, made concessions on tax revenue. He has also ratcheted up his demands — he now says there will be no fiscal cliff deal without a deal on the debt ceiling as well, which he has demanded unilateral authority to control. And he has, in public, addressed Republicans as if they were unruly children in need of discipline.
”If Congress in any way suggests that they’re going to tie negotiations to debt ceiling votes …” Obama told the Business Roundtable recently, “I will not play that game. Because we’ve got to break that habit before it starts.”