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Illinois has a $74 billion debt hole for teacher pensions, and the third-party payer problem helps explain why

Illinois needs to end the third-party payer problem for teacher pensions  From Illinois Policy April 2017

Illinois has a $74 billion debt hole for teacher pensions, and the third-party payer problem helps explain why.

Illinois’ teacher pension system is structured to allow local school boards to agree to generous contracts, knowing taxpayers across the state will foot the bill. This system should change so that local school boards cover their own pension costs. That way, they will bear the full cost of salary increases they decide on, rather than pushing much of that cost onto unaware state taxpayers.

Illinois has a $74 billion debt hole for teacher pensions, and the third-party payer problem helps explain why.

Here’s how it works in Illinois: Two parties make a financial decision but a third party pays for that decision. This leads to irresponsible spending and unfair costs for the third-party payer.

For example, teachers unions and local school boards agree upon compensation contracts, but taxpayers across the state pay.

Local school boards decide the pay increases that determine the final value of teacher pensions. However, state government pays for those pensions through the Teachers’ Retirement System, or TRS. This gives local school boards an incentive to boost the value of teacher pensions to appease local teaching staffs while passing the cost to taxpayers somewhere else. Illinois taxpayers are unwittingly footing the bill for inflated contracts across the state through this financial scheme, which benefits teachers and local school board members.

But the system is set up to incentivize local school boards to behave this way – they get to give out expensive benefits to people in their district while essentially taxing other districts to pay for it. Why not tax people in other districts to give perks to teachers in your district?

That’s why the third-party payer structure doesn’t work: It leads to what’s called “pension spiking,” which is the practice of giving teachers big salary increases right before retirement to boost the pension they will receive. For example, a 10-year teachers’ contract in Palatine includes four consecutive years of 6 percent raises before teachers retire, bumping a teacher with an $80,000 salary up to a $101,000 salary in his or her last four years. The final pension, for which the state pays, is based on an average of these last four years of salary.

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This is one of the reasons Illinois has such an extraordinary debt for teachers’ pensions. Illinois’ teacher pension system is only 38 percent funded. Only $45 billion of assets are on hand to cover a liability currently at $119 billion. This leaves a $73.4 billion debt hole in the TRS pension fund.

illinois teacher pension debt

Just the interest cost on the teacher pension debt is $5.1 billion per year. Illinois is not even covering the interest payment, meaning the debt will continue increasing for the foreseeable future.
illinois teacher pension debt
The way TRS is structured lines up all the local political and financial interests against the financial well being of the state. Requiring local school boards to cover their own pension costs would change this. That way, they will bear the full cost of salary increases they decide on, rather than pushing much of that cost onto unaware state taxpayers.

Politicians already have an incentive problem when they spend public money. As a general rule, people spend their own money much more responsibly than they spend someone else’s money.

The next problem is that school board members can get the benefits of happy teachers and better labor relations with the teachers union by giving teachers this perk paid for by other people.

These school board members do not face local accountability when they juice pensions because local taxpayers don’t directly pay for those pensions. The cost is passed on to state taxpayers generally.

The incentives in Illinois’ pension system are poorly constructed, hurt the finances of the state and are one of the big contributors to Illinois’ extraordinary pension debt. Chicago Public Schools, or CPS, at least takes care of its own pensions, although it receives a special grant from the state to cover the cost. But if (or rather, when) CPS goes bankrupt, that will be a problem for CPS taxpayers rather than taxpayers statewide.

Illinois political leaders should fix this problem statewide by ending the third-party payer problem and having local school boards pick up their own pension costs on a going-forward basis. Local school boards create the cost, so they should pay it. That’s good policy, and good for the state’s finances.

TAGS: education, pensions, teacher salaries, TRS: Teachers’ Retirement System

Source: Will County News

Don’t be fooled by ‘penny for schools’ tax

Don’t be fooled by ‘penny for schools’ tax   From Illinois Policy April 2017

A multibillion-dollar business based in Missouri — Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. — is making a pretty penny helping to hike local sales taxes across Illinois.

A multibillion-dollar business based in Missouri — Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. — making a pretty penny helping to hike local sales taxes across Illinois.

A Missouri corporation is making a pretty penny helping to hike local sales taxes across Illinois. But in the process, it’s proving how local governments shirk responsibility to keep their spending in check.

Ten years ago, Illinois passed a law authorizing the Illinois County School Facility Occupation Tax, or CSFT. This law allows elected school boards representing a majority of the county’s student population to place a sales tax hike referendum of up to 1 percent on the ballot.

To pass, it requires a simple majority vote. And all that money has to go toward school facility projects. Odds are you’ve seen this question at the polls at some point over the past decade, as around 70 counties across Illinois have voted on this ballot question since 2007.

Take Jackson County, where 57 percent of voters approved a 1 percent CSFT last October. That means families in Carbondale will pay an 11.75 percent sales tax on food and beverage items, and a 9.75 percent sales tax on other goods. Those rates rival those paid by families in Chicago, which is home to the highest sales tax in the nation among major cities.

The fact that these new sales taxes pile on to already-excessive tax burdens across the state is bad enough. (A March report from consumer finance website WalletHub found Illinoisans shoulder the nation’s highest state and local tax burden, at more than $8,100 annually for the median household.)

But what well-meaning residents may not know about the CSFT is that a multibillion-dollar business based in Missouri – Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. – is often pulling the strings.

A 2014 Illinois Policy Institute investigation found Stifel involvement in 12 of the 14 CSFT hikes in that year’s fall election cycle, and dozens more over the seven years prior. The company provided guidance to Jackson County officials last year.

Stifel’s business model looks like this: employees trek across the state offering free consultation to school boards that want more money for their districts. Then they make a pitch to handle the lucrative bond business for the ensuing projects funded by the sales-tax hike. Nice work if you can get it.

But nickel-and-diming tactics like the CSFT end up masking accountability for local spending decisions. They also show why a weak property tax freeze from Springfield won’t force local governments to get their spending under control.

Look at Hillsboro, a small rural community about an hour south of Springfield and the seat of Montgomery County. Montgomery is one of Stifel’s latest targets. Last year, Hillsboro voters rejected a referendum to build a new high school at a cost of more than $60 million. Soon after, Stifel representatives showed up and persuaded Montgomery County Schools to put the CSFT on the ballot this spring.

“There’s nothing left here to pay a new tax like this,” said Jeff Dunn, a Hillsboro small business owner. “Really good jobs that would support a family have left. All of our industry is gone now.”

Hillsboro already levies a special telecommunications tax. And the local school district hiked its property tax levy by 55 percent from 2006 to 2015.

“We have high unemployment, high poverty and a high number of residents on food stamps,” Dunn said. “That tax is a real burden on many people but it’s not enough for the school?”

Biased advising from Stifel often leads to questionable claims from local officials regarding the CSFT. One popular myth: If voters approve the sales tax hike, property taxes will go down.

Don’t count on it. Just ask taxpayers in Champaign.

Stifel, local school districts and the Champaign County Board promoted claims in 2009 that the sales-tax hike would result in lower property taxes in 13 Champaign County school districts. The CSFT passed in all of them. But only one of those school districts lowered property tax levies over the next five years.

The other 12 districts raised property tax levies by an average of 22 percent as of 2014. And that’s on top of the new sales tax, which has taken tens of millions of extra dollars from Champaign County residents.

While school districts can place CSFT referendums on the ballot every election, wearing down any opposition, voters can never initiate a referendum to repeal the tax once enacted.

New local revenue across Illinois often serves to only prop up an unsustainable system, one where collective bargaining agreements ensure benefits far above what residents working in the private sector can expect, administrative pay continues to rise, and prevailing wage requirements inflate the cost of public projects.

Part of the Illinois Senate’s failed “grand bargain” was a two-year property tax freeze. But such a freeze means nothing without reforms to local government spending, and comprehensive changes to the roadblocks that protect residents from other tax and fee hikes like the CSFT.

Without necessary safeguards, companies like Stifel are all too happy to take advantage of tax-hungry officials.

TAGS: CSFT: Illinois County School Facility Occupation Tax, penny tax, Stifel Nicolaus & Co.

Source: Will County News

Headlines from Judicial Watch April 7, 2017

 

Sanctuary City Dangers Exposed
April 7, 2017: This Week’s Headlines    

Documents Confirm that Obama IRS Improperly Targeted Conservatives

JW Exposes Dangerous Criminals Protected by Texas Sanctuary City Policy

Climategate Obstruction Challenged in Court 

U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz Addresses Government Oversight Challenges at JW


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Tom Fitton Gives Updates on Susan Rice, the IRS Scandal, & Sanctuary Cities 

 

Documents Confirm that Obama IRS Improperly Targeted Conservatives

We continue to undercover the details of the Obama IRS’ arbitrary and capricious behavior toward those presumed to be “enemies” of President Obama.

This week we released 695 pages of new documents containing admissions by IRS officials that the agency used “inappropriate political labels” to screen the tax-exempt applications of conservative organizations. Other records reveal that the IRS was going to require 501(c)(4) nonprofit organizations to restrict their alleged political activities if they opted for “expedited consideration” of their tax-exempt applications.

The documents were produced after a revelation by the IRS that it had located “an additional 6,924 documents of potentially responsive records” relating to a 2015 Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit about the Obama IRS targeting scandal.  These new records are the first batch of nearly 7,000 documents that had been hidden from JW, Congress, and the American people.  (Our FOIA lawsuit seeks records about the IRS’ selection of individuals and organizations for audits based upon applications requesting nonprofit tax status filed by Tea Party and other 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organizations (Judicial Watch v. Internal Revenue Service (No. 1:15-cv-00220)).

Of the 695 pages of documents released by the IRS, 422 (61%) were completely blacked out. Again, this new material was not in the “Congressional Database,” which the IRS created in 2013 to house records responsive to congressional inquiries into the IRS scandal.

Nevertheless, we extracted some key info – such as a June 20, 2013, memo from Karen Schiller, then-acting director, EO (Exempt Organizations) Rulings and Agreements, suspending use of the controversial Be on the Lookout (BOLO) and Touch and Go (TAG) lists:

EO Rulings and Agreements is undertaking a comprehensive review of screening and identification of critical issues. We intend to develop proper procedures and uses for these types of documents. Until a more formal process for identification, approval and distribution of this type of data is established, Rulings and Agreements will not use this technique to elevate issues.

In an August 9, 2013, memo, Schiller admitted the IRS used political labels in targeting the groups for special scrutiny and possible audit and that, going forward, the agency would screen organizations based only on their activities, “not words” or “labels of any kind:”

As Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel has said, the IRS has taken decisive action to eliminate the use of inappropriate political labels in the screening of 501(c)(4) applications. IRS policy is now clear that screening is based on activity, not words in a name. The new steps and current policies were outlined in the June 24 report, which noted: “In the absence of BOLO lists, the Determinations Unit will continue to screen for information affecting the determination of applications for tax exempt status, including activity tied to political campaign intervention, but it [will] be done without regard to specific labels of any kind.” The 30-day report also reflects the June 20, 2013 memorandum, which was issued to officially suspend the use of the BOLO list in the screening process.

The documents also include a “Dear [Applicant]” letter that offers an “expedited process” for 501(c)(4) groups in exchange for restriction on their activities:

This optional expedited process is currently available only to applicants for 501(c)(4) status with applications pending for more than 120 days as of May 28, 2013, that indicate the organization may be involved in political campaign intervention.

In this optional process, an organization will represent that it satisfies, and will continue to satisfy, set percentages with respect to the level of its social welfare activities and political campaign intervention activities (as defined in the specific instructions on pages 5-7). These percentage representations are not an interpretation of law but are a safe harbor for those organizations that choose to participate in the optional process.

In short, the Obama IRS, after lawlessly delaying the approval of Tea Party group applications, tried to extort restrictions – which had no basis in law – on these very same groups.

On September 30, 2013, Acting Director, Exempt Organizations, Kenneth C. Corbin, sent a memo to IRS staff providing detailed guidance on classifying applications when “‘merit approval’ is not an option,” emphasizing that the determination is to be based on “facts and circumstances,” not “words and labels:”

Classifier reviews the application and determines if it should be routed to a specialty group. This determination is based upon facts and circumstances of the stated activities within Part II of the application rather than names or labels. This is consistent with Karen Schiller’s August 9, 2013 memorandum …

The Schiller and Corbin memos came on the heels of the May 14, 2013, Inspector General report revealing that the IRS had singled out groups using conservative-sounding terms such as “patriot” and “Tea Party” when applying for tax-exempt status. The IG probe determined that “Early in Calendar Year 2010, the IRS began using inappropriate criteria to identify organizations applying for tax-exempt status (e.g., lists of past and future donors)” and “delayed processing of targeted groups’ applications” in advance of the 2012 presidential election.

No wonder the Obama IRS hid these records. These new smoking-gun documents contain admissions by the Obama IRS that it inappropriately targeted conservative groups. But the records also show that the abuse continued – as the Obama IRS tried to force conservative applicants to give up their First Amendment rights in order to finally get their applications granted.

JW Exposes Dangerous Criminals Protected by Texas Sanctuary City Policy 

Sanctuary city policies that undermine and thwart immigration law put politics above the public safety.

As evidence of this, please take a look at 204 illegal alien Detainer Requests denied to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by the Travis County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office. The illegal aliens protected by the Sheriff’s Office were charged or convicted of 34 acts of violence, and 14 thefts or burglaries. Forty-four of the denied requests were for inmates originally detained by Homeland Security and temporarily transferred to Travis County (home to the state capital in Austin) for disposition of state or local charges.

The sanctuary policy, the “Travis County Sheriff’s Office Policy on Cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” limits the extent to which the sheriff’s office will cooperate with ICE.

On February 2, 2017, the Austin American-Statesman reported that the Travis County Sheriff’s Office had “declined 196 detention requests” from ICE. Once the ICE detainers were removed, 37 people were released on bail. These inmates may have been able to post bail prior to the new sanctuary policy, “but they would have been released into ICE custody for possible deportation.”

On February 3 we submitted a Public Information Act Request to the sheriff’s office asking for:

  • The 196 detention requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Such requests may include Department of Homeland Security Forms I-247N, I-247D or I-247-X; and
  • Any records provided to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement by the Travis County’s Sheriff’s office that declines the 196 detention requests.

We got back forms ( “Immigration Detainer—Request for Voluntary Action”) that show the illegal aliens protected by this sanctuary policy had the following criminal records:

  • 58 DWIs;
  • 34 acts of violence (assault, aggregated assault, assault with a deadly weapon, etc.);
  • 14 thefts/burglaries or other crimes against property;
  • 8 drug-possession charges; 6 firearms violations;
  • 45 other assorted felonies and misdemeanors (including contempt and failure to appear in court), and
  • 35 unlisted or unclassified charges. [NOTE: Totals do not add due to multiple charges/convictions in some instances.]

These documents provide disturbing evidence of how Travis County’s sanctuary policy protects criminal illegal aliens, many of whom are dangerous felons, from deportation. Again, sanctuary policies such as these put the public’s safety at risk.

Under the new sanctuary policy, the sheriff’s office now honors only select detention requests for inmates charged or convicted of a crime on a narrowly specified list of such crimes as murder and aggravated sexual assault. For all other crimes, ICE must present the sheriff with a warrant or judicial order before the inmate will be detained:

(a) when the detainer request is accompanied by a judicial warrant or court order for continued detention or notification to the extent required by the judicial warrant of court order; or (b) when the individual who is the subject of the ICE detainer request is charged with or has been convicted of the following felonies under Texas law: (1) Capita Murder …

(2) Murder – First Degree … (3) Aggravated Sexual Assault … (4) Continuous Smuggling of Persons … A conviction consists of a final entry of adjudication of guilt by a court pursuant to statue and after exhaustion of the appellate process. If a court later (a) vacates the judicial warrant or court order, or (b) the individual’s conviction and/or sentence is overturned, TCSO will decline the ICE detainer request relating to that individual.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott intends to support federal actions against sanctuary policies by signing legislation that could put sheriffs of sanctuary cities in jail. The governor announced $1.5 million in cuts for the county in response to Travis County Sheriff Hernandez’s policy.

So in the face of all the sanctuaries, there is some sanity.  In the meantime, we are investigating other sanctuary cities’ coddling of illegal alien criminals.  And we are directly challenging in court San Francisco’s sanctuary policy.

Stay tuned.

Climategate Obstruction Challenged in Court 

Here in DC today it is terribly cold for early April.  The problem for the “climate change” crowd is that a plethora of cold days such as this have added to one long pause in global warming.  In other words, there hasn’t been any “global warming” for years.

This inconvenient truth is at the heart of new Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation against the U.S. Department of Commerce to get all records of communications between a pair of federal scientists who heavily influenced the Obama administration’s climate change policy and its backing of the Obama-pushed global warming alarmist agenda under the so-called Paris Agreement (Judicial Watch v. Department of Commerce (No. 1:17-cv-00541)).

We filed the lawsuit after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a component of the Department of Commerce, failed to respond to our February 6 FOIA request seeking:

All records of communications between NOAA scientist Thomas Karl and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy John Holdren.

The FOIA request covers the timeframe of January 20, 2009 to January 20, 2017.

Karl, who until last year was director of the NOAA section that produces climate data, the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), was the lead author of a landmark paper that was reported to have heavily influenced the Paris Agreement.

Holdren is a former director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, director of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and long-time proponent of strong measures to curb emissions.

According to The Daily Mail, a whistleblower accused Thomas Karl of bypassing normal procedures to produce a scientific paper promoting climate alarmism:

A high-level whistleblower has told this newspaper that America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) breached its own rules on scientific integrity when it published the sensational but flawed report, aimed at making the maximum possible impact on world leaders including Barack Obama and David Cameron at the UN climate conference in Paris in 2015.

The report claimed that the ‘pause’ or ‘slowdown’ in global warming in the period since 1998 – revealed by UN scientists in 2013 – never existed, and that world temperatures had been rising faster than scientists expected. …

But the whistleblower, Dr. John Bates, a top NOAA scientist with an impeccable reputation, has shown The Mail on Sunday irrefutable evidence that the paper was based on misleading, ‘unverified’ data.

It was never subjected to NOAA’s rigorous internal evaluation process – which Dr. Bates devised.

His vehement objections to the publication of the faulty data were overridden by his NOAA superiors in what he describes as a ‘blatant attempt to intensify the impact’ of what became known as the Pausebuster paper.

***
In an exclusive interview, Dr. Bates accused the lead author of the paper, Thomas Karl, who was until last year director of the NOAA section that produces climate data – the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) – of ‘insisting on decisions and scientific choices that maximized warming and minimized documentation … in an effort to discredit the notion of a global warming pause, rushed so that he could time publication to influence national and international deliberations on climate policy’.

This lawsuit could result in the release of emails that will help Americans understand how Obama administration officials may have mishandled scientific data to advance the political agenda of global warming alarmism.

Separately, we are suing for records of communications from NOAA officials regarding methodology for collecting and interpreting data used in climate models to justify the controversial findings in the “Pausebuster” study. The data documents had also been withheld from Congress. (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Commerce (No 1:15-cv-02088)).

We previously investigated alleged data manipulation by global warming advocates in the Obama administration. In 2010, we obtained internal documents from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) related to a controversy that erupted in 2007 when Canadian blogger Stephen McIntyre exposed an error in NASA’s handling of raw temperature data from 2000-2006 that exaggerated the reported rise in temperature readings in the United States. According to multiple press reports, when NASA corrected the error, the new data apparently caused a reshuffling of NASA’s rankings for the hottest years on record in the United States, with 1934 replacing 1998 at the top of the list.

Forget about “fake news,” with the leftists that have been running our government for years – we have to worry about the potential of taxpayer-funded “fake science.”

U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz Addresses Government Oversight Challenges at JW

If you have not had a chance to watch our special presentation on “Government Oversight Challenges,” let me encourage you to do so. U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, was our guest in our DC headquarters for this presentation. He begins with an explanation of why Judicial Watch can often uncover secrets hidden by the government agencies that the Congress can’t get to.  You can watch it here.

Until next week,

Tom Fitton
President

Source: Will County News

How far did Obama spying go?

Bombshell: How far did Obama spying go?

The Sharyl Attkisson case

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During the transition between election and inauguration, Trump associates have phone conversations with foreign leaders. Those conversations are recorded by U.S. intelligence agencies and turned into secret intelligence reports…

Former Obama National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, is accused of “unmasking” the names of Trump team members contained in those U.S. intelligence reports and illegally leaking their names to the press. Bloomberg reports: “One U.S. official familiar with the reports said they contained valuable political information on the Trump transition such as whom the Trump team was meeting, the views of Trump associates on foreign policy matters and plans for the incoming administration.”

In other words, U.S. intelligence agencies, under Obama, were spying on Trump associates — and Rice obtained the names of those associates, which are supposed to be kept confidential.

Leaking the names to the press, in the current political atmosphere, would result in the impression that Trump associates were having improper conversations with foreign leaders, or even “colluding” with them. Lots of innuendo here.

The Susan Rice spying scandal points to what? More. Other Americans the Obama team spied on. Other Americans who were opposed to the Obama agenda. Other Americans who were critical of the Obama administration. Other Americans who were exposing the Obama administration.

For example, former CBS star investigative reporter, Sharyl Attkisson — who has sued members of the Obama team and several federal agencies. That lawsuit has just been referred to another venue by the judge in the case. He could have dismissed the suit, but he didn’t. He wants it to proceed. He wants Attkisson to have her day in court.

You might remember Attkisson was uncovering highly embarrassing details about the gun-walking operation, Fast & Furious, and the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi. She was making the Obama administration extremely uncomfortable.

But let me quote Judge Emet Sullivan’s recent order transferring Attkisson’s suit:

“In 2011 — at the same time that Ms. Attkisson was conducting investigations and issuing certain of her high-profile news reports–the Attkissons ‘began to notice anomalies in numerous electronic devices at their home in Virginia.’ These anomalies included Ms. Attkisson’s work-issued laptop computer and a family desktop computer ‘turning on and off at night without input from anyone in the household,’ ‘the house alarm chirping daily at different times,’ and ‘television problems, including interference.’ All of these electronic devices used ‘the Verizon FiOS line installed in [the Attkissons’] home,’ but Verizon was unable to stanch the anomalous activity despite multiple attempts. In January 2012, the Attkissons’ residential internet service ‘began constantly dropping off’.”

“In February 2012, ‘sophisticated surveillance spyware’ was installed on Ms. Attkisson’s work-issued laptop computer. A later forensic computer analysis revealed that Ms. Attkisson’s laptop and the family’s desktop computer had been the ‘targets of unauthorized surveillance efforts.’ That same forensic analysis revealed that Ms. Attkisson’s mobile phone was also targeted for surveillance when it was connected to the family’s desktop computer. The infiltration of that computer and the extraction of information from it was ‘executed via an IP address owned, controlled, and operated by the United States Postal service.’ Additionally, based on the sophisticated nature of the software used to carry out the infiltration and software fingerprints indicating the use of the federal government’s proprietary software, the infiltration and surveillance appeared to be perpetrated by persons in the federal government.”

“An independent forensic computer analyst hired by CBS subsequently reported finding evidence on both Ms. Attkisson’s work-issued laptop computer and her family’s desktop computer of ‘a coordinated, highly-skilled series of actions and attacks directed at the operation of the computers.’ Computer forensic analysis also indicated that remote actions were taken in December 2012 to remove the evidence of the electronic infiltration and surveillance from Ms. Attkisson’s computers and other home electronic equipment.”

“As Ms. Attkisson’s investigations and reporting continued, in October 2012 the Attkissons noticed ‘an escalation of electronic problems at their personal residence, including interference in home and mobile phone lines, computer interference, and television interference.’ In November of that year, Ms. Attkisson’s mobile phones ‘experienced regular interruptions and interference, making telephone communications unreliable, and, at times, virtually impossible’.”

“Additionally, in December 2012, a person with government intelligence experience conducted an inspection of the exterior of the Attkissons’ Virginia home. That investigator discovered an extra Verizon FiOS fiber optics line. Soon thereafter, after a Verizon technician was instructed by Ms. Attkisson to leave the extra cable at the home, the cable disappeared, and the Attkissons were unable to determine what happened to it. In March 2013, the Attkissons’ desktop computer malfunctioned, and in September of that year, while Ms. Attkisson was working on a story at her home, she observed that her personal laptop computer was remotely accessed and controlled, resulting in data being deleted from it. On April 3, 2013, Ms. Attkisson filed a complaint with the Inspector General of the Department of Justice. The Inspector General’s investigation was limited to an analysis of the compromised desktop computer, and the partially-released report that emerged from that investigation reported ‘no evidence of intrusion,’ although it did note ‘a great deal of advanced mode computer activity not attributable to Ms. Attkisson or anybody in her household’.”

“The Attkissons allege that the ‘cyber-attacks’ they ‘suffered in [their] home’ were perpetrated by ‘personnel working on behalf of the United States.’ Accordingly, they have asserted various claims against the United States and against former Attorney General Eric Holder, former Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, and unknown agents of the Department of Justice, the United States Postal Service, and the United States, all in their individual capacities. Those claims include claims against the United States under the FTCA and claims against the individual federal officers for violations of constitutional rights under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971)…”

Spying, surveillance, harassment, interference, attempts at intimidation.

Are you noticing any significant mainstream news coverage of this case? Of course not.

Ordinarily, mainstream reporters protect their own colleagues, but here there is silence.

Let’s call it what it is: Partisan political silence.

The silence is based on a principle they don’t teach at journalism schools:

 “We omit the news that contradicts our agenda. Our agenda IS the news.”

Memo to the new Attorney General, Jeff Sessions: You could launch your own investigation into the Attkisson case. Bring it front and center. Uncover all the nasty details. Expose the perpetrators.

Now.

— Jon Rappoport

Source: Will County News

Republican common sense fix for Illinois

Senate Republicans continued to push for a balanced budget with common sense reforms that will put Illinois’ fiscal house in order and create a foundation for future budgeting.  This forward-looking approach stands in stark contrast to House Democrats who, devoid of any new ideas and solutions, ran another stopgap budget this week containing no reforms whatsoever.

A comprehensive plan—not a short-term solution—is needed to get the state back on its feet, said Deputy Republican Leader Bill Brady (Bloomington). (Online)

Senate Republican Whip Karen McConnaughay(St. Charles) says reforms—like those Republicans are pushing—are needed to provide for economic growth and stability. (Online)
A comprehensive plan and common sense reforms are key to the state’s fiscal future. (Online)
Senators Kyle McCarter and Dan McConchie unveiled their multi-point “Taxpayer Bargain” plan to achieve a balanced budget. (Online)

Source: Will County News