No Obama scandals? Really?
One of the left’s mantras and memes theme claims that the President Obama administration was scandal free. But is that true?
First of all, I do not consider presidential scandals to be a matter of political competition or partisan whataboutism. They are what they are – and they stand on their own. I emphasize that because of those readers who will not respond to the points being made in this commentary but will avoid the subject by pointing to Trump, Nixon, or James Buchanan – anything but an intelligent response. Whew! End of disclaimer.
Saying something does not make it so – and that is true of the claim that Obama’s eight years in office were scandal free. In fact, here are highlights of some beauties.
Politicization of the IRS
In 2013, the IRS was forced to admit that the agency had selected tax-exempt political groups to unprecedented scrutiny and rejections based on their political views. Any organization self-identified as “tea party” were targeted. The Treasury Department Inspector General claimed that the IRS used both conservative and liberal terms as keywords for audits and other actions – such as the Occupy movement. However, the record showed that while left-wing groups were noted, but less action was taken.
In a subsequent lawsuit by 400 conservative groups, the IRS essentially admitted its guilt and settled with conservative plaintiffs for “a substantial”– but undisclosed — amount of money. In a second lawsuit by 41 other conservative organizations, the IRS issued a formal letter of apology for subjecting them to wrongful “heightened scrutiny and inordinate delays.”
FBI Director James Comey used prosecutorial discretion to decline to pursue criminal charges against the IRS or Lois Lerner, the central figure in the scandal. Although criminal charges were not pursued, Lerner was forced to resign (fired) for her role in the scandal.
Fast and Furious
With the approval of the White House, the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) authorized gun dealers to sell firearms to known “straw buyers” – who were known to be purchasing on behalf of Mexican drug cartellians and other criminals. The theory was that ATF would trace the guns and find the bad dudes. Really? What could go wrong with that idea?
“Project Gunrunner,” as it was officially called, resulted in thousands of guns being delivered to Mexican drug gangs. Ironically, many of the guns were used against U.S. border agents – killing Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in 2012.
The guns had to “walk” because the operation did not establish sufficient probable cause to arrest the recipients, according to federal prosecutor Emory Hurley – who had warned the Obama administration of the problem, including his boss, Attorney General Eric Holder. Holder claimed that he knew nothing of Fast and Furious until 2011. Uh-huh.
Holder was held in contempt of Congress for his refusal to testify or provide documents. He was the first Attorney General to be cited for contempt in American history. There was no effort to pursue criminal contempt charges by the Department of Justice against its own Attorney General. Hmmmm.
Benghazi was a scandal followed up by a controversial congressional investigation – controversial because Democrats were vehemently against an investigation. Notwithstanding the investigation, Benghazi was an operational scandal that landed on the desk of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Benghazi was a State Department outpost that was attacked by the Islamic terrorist group Ansar al-Sharia. At the time, the United States Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens was on site. He, Information Management officer Sean Smith and two CIA contractors were killed in the attack.
The Clinton State Department initially proffered the claim that the violence in Benghazi was no more than local rioters or looters. They denied any ties to Islamic terrorism. And they declined requests for more security.
The scandal arose over the inaction by the State Department to provide adequate protection for those under attack. Requests for more security were made prior to and during the attack. Several requests – including some reaching Clinton’s desk – were ignored. American military assists that could have reached the facility being attacked were not deployed expeditiously. The deaths may have been avoided or mitigated if it were not for the slow response time.
The scandal resulted from the lack of proper action by the Obama administration and, more importantly, by the attempts to conceal or spin the facts as investigations commenced.
The Clinton emails
Arguably the scandal that reached the greatest level of public awareness was the handling of official and confidential emails by Clinton. In view of the controversy over Trump’s presidential records, the Clinton case is a prime example of hypocrisy in both directions.
The issue with Clinton was the removal of government documents and emails from the official files. Clinton’s were hidden on a personal server stored in a bathroom closet in Denver. Later, Clinton files were found on the home computers of sex predator and former congressman Anthony Weiner – husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin. (You cannot make this stuff up.)
Potentially incriminating emails were “scrubbed” from the computers by Clinton’s direction. In one case, the hard drive was literally ground into thousands of pieces.
This scandal evolved into one of the major 2016 campaign issues.
The Steele Dossier
Many may not see the Steele Dossier issue as an Obama-era scandal, but it is because it was the child of officials and former officials of the Obama administration – and there is ample evidence of the involvement – tacit or active – of the Obama White House.
It started out as a political dirty trick in a highly volatile presidential campaign. The Clinton campaign paid to dig up dirt on Trump – especially anything to do with untoward ties to Russia and involvement in Russian election meddling. The result was the phony Steele Dossier – a document alleging all kinds of criminal ties between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin – and a few salacious sexual details.
While the Dossier was dubious initially, members of the Obama administration got involved – most notably the FBI. Director James Comey used the Dossier to launch the now-infamous two-year investigation of Trump and the Trump campaign. They received authorization for wire taps by misinforming the Court as to the source and questionable veracity of the document.
Despite the efforts of the Clinton campaign, the FBI, the White House and others in the intelligence community – and a two-year investigation by Special Counsel Mueller — no one was charged with aiding in the Russian meddling in the 2016 election – the alleged primary purpose of investigation.
This was a campaign dirty trick that officials of the Obama administration were deeply involved.
Among his “international interests,” Hunter Biden was on the Board of a Ukrainian company, Burisma Holdings – a large energy company controlled by a corrupt oligarch.
Basically, Hunter was being paid an exorbitant amount of money based on very little knowledge of the business and very little time on the job. It is currently being investigated as to whether he was illegally peddling influence. Ya think!
Hunter was also known to have business ties to Russia and China worth billions of dollars – developed in large measure because of his father. Senior Biden often took his son on official government trips so Hunter could engage in private business discussions with high government and powerful business interests.
Essentially, Papa Biden was promoting his son for incredibly lucrative business deals with nations that had a less-than-friendly relationship with the United States. Very little could be found in the job descriptions, but the amount of money was in the millions – tens of millions … even hundreds of millions to the benefit of the Biden family – including First Brother Frank.
While the series of Hunter scandals have gained more public awareness in recent years – as various investigations have commenced — they had their genesis in the Obama administration.
Joe Biden Threatening Zelenskyy (or the Hunter coverup)
One of the Hunter (thanks dad) business deals can be singled out since it is clearly supported by Biden as Vice President. While serving as Vice President, Biden took the unusual step of threatening to withhold military supplies from Ukraine unless President Zelenskyy removes the Ukrainian prosecutor investigating Burisma Holdings – a corrupt Ukrainian energy company employing the Vice President’s son, Hunter.
Ukraine needed miliary equipment to counterbalance the growing threat from Russia. Regardless, the Obama administration refused to send weaponry – but rather “humanitarian aid.” Trump later changed that policy and began sending armaments.
Biden openly admitted in a press conference that he used $1 billion in Ukrainian humanitarian aide to force the removal of the prosecutor investigating Burisma – he just did not reveal the real reason why.
Green Money for Solyndra
Candidate Barack Obama promised to invest taxpayer money into “green energy projects.” Once in office, Solyndra was given $527 in government loans to pursue green energy. In less than two years, the company went out of business. More than a thousand employees lose their jobs (although millions of dollars were taken home by top management and used to pay off investors).
Solyndra was in trouble before the federal loan — and was not the best risk. But the Company did have one ace in the hole – its largest investor, George Kaiser. He had bundled more than $50,000 for the Obama-Biden campaign – and had made several visits to the White House and the Department of Energy prior to the granting of the loans. Mega Democrat fundraiser Steven Spinner was also actively lobbying the administration to approve the deal. Despite the stench of scandal, the major news platforms largely ignored the story.
Ransom for Hostages
The United States has always had a policy of not paying ransom for hostages. That is not a happy policy, but the recognition that paying ransoms would only mean more American citizens being taken by criminal and terrorist organizations.
The Obama administrations paid Iran $400 million in cash to release four American hostages. This was part of the $1.7 billion that Obama gave Iran as part of the Nuclear Deal. It is arguable that the deal – which was disapproved by a majority in Congress was even legal.
In view of these and other smaller scandals, why the claim that the Obama administration was scandal-free? In fact, the New York Post ran this headline in 2020:
“Obama claims his presidency was free from scandal — but he’s full of it.”
But that was a rare exception. You can thank the biased media for that. Generally, they ignore or play down scandals, misconduct and criminality of Democrats and those on the left – their friends – and pump up any conceivable misconduct by Republicans to the max. If they report on Democrats at all, it is minimally. And there will be no aggressive media investigations … no flashback stories … no television special documentaries. That is also scandalous. But who is going to investigate and report on media scandals?
Yes … the Obama administration had its share of scandals. The widely held perception based on media cover-ups is not the reality.
So, there ‘tis.
Ransom for Hostages?
The network evening and morning shows seem to have badly misplaced priorities. In August of 2016 ABC, CBS and NBC have devoted 10 times more coverage to the Olympic swimmer “scandal” than they did the bombshell admission that the Obama administration linked the release of four American prisoners and a $400 million payment to Iran.
From the evening of August 18, 2016 through August 19 morning programs, the networks pounced on the report that Olympian Ryan Lochte and three other swimmers may have fabricated some or all of an alleged robbery in Rio de Janeiro. This garnered a whopping 37 minutes and 31 seconds. In comparison, the cash payout to Iran, which looked suspiciously like ransom, only amounted to a scant 3 minutes and 46 seconds.
For more reading:
FBI Texts Suggest Obama was Involved in Clinton Investigation
Obama-Era Uranium Deal Now Under Investigation
Racketeering in Obama’s DOJ – Blackmailed Criminal Companies to Support Liberal Causes
The Opioid Conspiracy – A Crisis Out of Control (Thanks, Obama)
Anti-Trump Support, ‘Obama Underground’ Revealed
Gingrich: Obama Wiretapping Most ‘Egregious Abuse’ of Criminal Justice in History
Obama Administration Illegal Wiretaps: ‘Unmask Requests’ in the Hundreds
Are Insurance Companies Controlling the Obamacare Narrative?
Obama’s Message to America: Don’t Compete So Hard (Editor’s Rant!)
‘Obamaphone’ Program Riddled with Fraud
Obama Official Admits Climate Change Data was Cooked
Thanks Obama for the 9.3 Trillion in U.S. Debt