By Tracy Bloom
Service Call: President Obama has finally addressed the Internal Revenue Service matter, three days after news broke that the IRS targeted tea party and conservative political groups that were looking to gain tax-exempt status. During a news conference Monday, Obama strongly condemned the IRS, calling its actions “outrageous.” However, he said he would save further criticism once a more thorough report on the incident is released. “I have got no patience with it, I will not tolerate it, and we will make sure that we find out exactly what happened on this,” the president said. Politicians on both sides of the aisle were quicker to express anger and disgust over the targeting, with some calling for the firing of acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller. (Read more)
Crossing the Line: Calling it a “massive and unprecedented intrusion,” The Associated Press on Monday reported that the Justice Department secretly obtained two months of the news organization’s phone records. The records were obtained in connection with a story that was published in May 2012 about the CIA thwarting a terrorist attack in Yemen. The Justice Department reportedly claimed an exemption in order to avoid informing the AP that it had secretly obtained the information. According to the AP: “In all, the government seized those records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012. The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown but more than 100 journalists work in the offices whose phone records were targeted on a wide array of stories about government and other matters.” (Read more)
Data Dipping: Bloomberg News Editor-in-Chief Matthew Winkler apologized Monday after it was discovered that his reporters were monitoring the activities of company clients on the firm’s financial data terminals. “Our reporters should not have access to any data considered proprietary. I am sorry they did. The error is inexcusable,” Winkler wrote in a blog post. At least one reporter gained access to information from Goldman Sachs, and The Associated Press reported that JPMorgan Chase was also targeted. The Federal Reserve says it’s investigating whether reporters were tracking Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. Winkler says the company’s policy has changed and that “reporters now have no greater access to information than our customers have.” (Read more)
God Help You: Former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is advocating for a “National Day of Prayer and Feasting” this coming Sept. 11 because she claims the 9/11 and Benghazi attacks were judgments from God and that, in her view, the only recourse is to pray and repent. “Our nation has seen judgment not once but twice on September 11 and that’s why we’re going to have ‘9/11 Pray’ on that day,” Bachmann said at a recent prayer event on Capitol Hill. She added, “What is the answer? The answer is what we are doing here today: humbling ourselves before an almighty God, crying out to an almighty God, saying not of ourselves but you, would you save us oh God?” As Opposing Views noted, there’s a lot missing (like actual evidence) from the Minnesota Republican’s speech: “Rep. Bachmann made no mention of the U.S. government’s perpetual military and political involvement in the Middle East (for decades), which preceded the 9/11 and Benghazi terrorist attacks.” (Read more)
Poll Jump: Here’s some good news for Sarah Palin. A new poll shows the former half-term Alaska governor and world-renowned quitter would narrowly lead a Republican Senate primary in her home state if she decided to enter the 2014 race. Palin garnered 32 percent of the vote to best possible GOP challengers Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, who received 30 percent, and 2010 Senate nominee Joe Miller, who drew 14 percent. The survey, conveniently enough, was conducted by the Republican firm Harper Polling for the Tea Party Leadership Fund, which is working to draft Palin into the contest. (Read more)
Video of the Day: This season’s penultimate episode of “Saturday Night Live” opened with a hodgepodge of the week’s news events, somehow combining the Benghazi hearings with convicted killer Jodi Arias and accused Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro. Here are the results.