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Anti-LGBT Texas Officials Claim They’re Being Bullied By Pro-Civil Rights Group

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Lawmakers Blast Records Requests Seeking Links To National Hate Groups

Anti-LGBT Texas officials claim they’re being bullied by a Washington, D.C.-based organization that’s filed records requests in an effort to determine whether they’ve conspired with national hate groups. 

The Campaign for Accountability, a pro-civil rights watchdog group, wants to establish a link between anti-LGBT Texas lawmakers and groups such as the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Family Research Council, the Liberty Counsel and the National Organization for Marriage.

But Texas officials who’ve received the records requests, including tea party state Rep. Debbie Riddle (photo), apparently don’t think the public has a right to know the public’s business. Either that, or maybe they just have something to hide. Riddle filed two bills this year that would have made it illegal for transgender people to use public restrooms in accordance with their gender identity. 

“I am proud of my legislative record, and I am proud to work side by side with people and organizations in defense of Texas’ heritage and tradition of religious liberty,” Riddle said in a release responding to the records requests. “We cannot be bullied by groups who would shame us for standing up for our faith. This coming legislative session I will continue to stand strong on these issues and will file legislation to keep men out of women’s bathrooms in Texas. This is clearly a politically motivated attack because of my staunch opposition to the HERO ordinance in Houston.” 

Daniel Stevens, deputy director of the Campaign for Accountability, said the group sent records requests to numerous state legislators in Texas, where more than 20 anti-LGBT bills were filed this year, the most in the history of any state.  

“Frankly, I find it sort of laughable that this would be considered bullying,” Stevens told The New Civil Rights Movement. “These records are public, and the public should have access to them.” 

In its request to Riddle, the Campaign for Accountability cited media reports suggesting national hate groups are shopping model anti-LGBT bills to legislators across the country. 

“These organizations appear to be coordinating directly with elected officials and public employees to push so-called ‘religious freedom’ laws in states like Texas as part of their nationwide effort to codify discrimination under the guise of ‘religious freedom,'” the group wrote. “The public deserves to know the extent of this coordination and the extent to which its elected officials are doing the bidding of outside organizations seeking to advance their own agenda.”

The Campaign For Accountability also sent records requests to Houston City Council members who voted against the city’s Equal Rights Ordinance last year. 

On Tuesday, Houston council members Michael Kubosh and Dave Martin staged a press conference outside City Hall, where they blasted the records requests, which they claimed are being orchestrated by Mayor Annise Parker, according to The Houston Chronicle. (The press conference was conveniently timed four days before the Houston city election runoff.) 

“I felt like when we received this open records request for over tens of thousands of emails and 51 names of individuals and organizations that we’re going to have to search through, this is a type of bullying,” Kubosh said, calling the requests a “lump of coal” from the mayor.

Stevens called Kubosh’s allegation “outlandish,” and Parker spokeswoman Janice Evans said the notion that the mayor is behind the requests is “totally unsubstantiated.” (Indeed, if Parker were coordinating the effort, it seems doubtful she would have included state legislators.)

The US Pastor Council, which worked to repeal HERO and is also named in the records requests, said they amount to “harassment.”

“It is clear that the false front of ‘accountability’ this organization works behind is a thin veneer for an activist LGBT advocacy group that is now attempting to intimidate a Texas legislator for sponsoring legislation which would protect the privacy, safety and freedom of Texas women in particular,” Pastor Council Executive Director Dave Welch said in a release. “We will stand firmly with Rep. Riddle and other legislators who stand for decency, religious freedom and the rights of all people, not cater to a radical, tiny fragment defined by sexual behavior and gender confusion represented by Campaign for Accountability.” 

Welch is also named individually in the requests along with other anti-LGBT activists including Dr. Steve Hotze, Texas Values President Jonathan Saenz, Texas Eagle Forum President Cathie Adams and others. 

 

Image: Screenshot via Debbie Riddle/YouTube

 

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‘Unambiguous Felony’: Trump at Risk in IRS ‘Personal Vendetta’ Audit Investigation – Report

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According to a report from former Assistant U.S. Attorney Mitchell Epner at the Daily Beast, Donald Trump’s legal problems may be growing exponentially because there appears to be evidence he attempted to use the IRS to persecute political enemies before he lost re-election.

At issue, Epner wrote, are accusations from former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly that the former president demanded the IRS look into tax returns filed by, among others, former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

According to the legal expert, there is already an investigation by the IRS inspector general into the suspicious audits of the two FBI officials, with Epner writing, “As reported earlier this summer, both Comey and McCabe were subjected to highly unusual IRS audits. The odds of an individual randomly being subjected to this type of audit are similar to being struck by lightning. For both to be the subject of special audit by happenstance is about as likely as a whale falling from the sky and landing in the middle of a mountain range.”

As he notes, there is evidence Kelly is willing to provide evidence about Trump’s illegal demand, with Epner writing that “a president who unlawfully seeks to have an individual audited is subject to up to five years in prison. The crime does not require that the IRS actually carry out the audit. The crime is completed with the mere request.”

RELATED: The coming indictment of Donald Trump will break his power: former Obama lawyer

“If Trump made this demand while he was president, that is an unambiguous felony. Section 7217 of Title 26 of the United States Code makes it a crime for the ‘President’ to ‘request, directly or indirectly, any officer or employee of the Internal Revenue Service to conduct or terminate an audit or other investigation of any particular taxpayer with respect to the tax liability of such taxpayer,'” he wrote before adding, “Based on my training and experience as an Assistant U.S. Attorney who prosecuted tax offenses, I expect that each IRS employee along the chain of command kept detailed notes and records of who ordered them to conduct the audit, and on the facts that were cited to support that audit demand. I would not be surprised if each of those IRS employees cooperated with the DOJ, with all fingers pointing in Trump’s direction.”

He concluded that “the nice thing about prosecuting tax crimes is that the crimes are very clearly delineated. Few jurors have any sympathy for people who cheat on their taxes or wrongfully sic the IRS on an individual to carry out a personal vendetta.”

You can read more here.

 

Image by Evan El Amin/Shutterstock

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Trump Complains the ‘Fake News Went Crazy’ With Coverage of His 2-Hour Meeting With Notorious Racist He Won’t Condemn

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On Saturday evening, Donald Trump issued a fourth statement on his meeting with white nationalist Nick Fuentes and once again refused to denounce his racism and anti-Semitism.

Trump posted to his Truth Social account, “so I help a seriously troubled man, who just happens to be black, Ye (Kanye West), who has been decimated in his business and virtually everything else, and who has always been good to me, by allowing his request for a meeting at Mar-a-Lago, alone, so that I can give him very much needed ‘advice.’”

“He shows up with 3 people, two of which I didn’t know, the other a political person who I haven’t seen in years. I told him don’t run for office, a total waste of time, can’t win. Fake News went crazy,” Trump wrote.

Trump’s dinner has already become an issue in the 2024 presidential campaign and could play a role in determining the next Speaker of the House of Representatives. Trump’s ambassador to Israel condemned him dining with “human scum.”

Trump has received harsh headlines.

“Trump criticized for dining with far-right activist Nick Fuentes and rapper Ye,” headlined The Washington Post.

“Trump’s Latest Dinner Guest: Nick Fuentes, White Supremacist,” was The New York Times headline.

“Trump world reels after white nationalist dinner,” headlined Politico playbook.

“Trump’s former US ambassador to Israel blasts meeting with Ye, Nick Fuentes: ‘You are better than this,'” Fox News headlined.

NBC News headlined, “‘F—ing nightmare’: Trump team does damage control after he dines with Ye and white supremacist Nick Fuentes”

READ MORE: Trump’s Dinner With Kanye Also Included a Former Aide Accused in Pay-for-Pardon Play, and White Supremacist Fuentes

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‘Poisonous’: Former Advisor Says Republicans Have ‘Just Switched Trump Off in Their Brain’

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In an interview with The Guardian, one of Donald Trump’s former senior advisers stated that the word he is getting from people he has spoken to is that they want the former president to be put out to pasture after the poor midterm election results for Republicans weeks ago.

According to John Bolton, who served as Trump’s national security adviser, it’s time for the GOP to move on from the former president if the party wants to reclaim the Oval Office in 2024.

Bolton, whose tenure serving under Trump ended acrimoniously, told the Guardian’s David Smith that there are a multitude of reasons to put Trump in the rearview mirror, but the impact that the former president had on GOP fortunes in the midterms seems to be the final straw with many conservatives.

“There are a lot of reasons to be against Trump being the nominee but the one I’m hearing now as I call around the country, talking to my supporters and others about what happened on 8 November, is the number of people who have just switched Trump off in their brain,” Bolton explained.

ALSO IN THE NEWS: Trump’s new Mar-a-Lago scandal proves why aides want him to stick to a teleprompter

Elaborating, he continued, “Even if they loved his style, loved his approach, loved his policies, loved everything about him, they don’t want to lose and the fear is, given the results on 8 November, that if he got the nomination, not only would he lose the general election, but he would take an awful lot of Republican candidates down with him.”

“There’s no doubt Trump’s endorsement in the primary can be very valuable to a candidate in the Republican party. But relying on that endorsement or trumpeting yourself as the Trump-endorsed candidate is poisonous in the general election. So if you actually want to win elections, Trump is not the answer,” Bolton continued. “William F Buckley [the conservative author] once had a rule that in Republican primaries he supported the most conservative candidate capable of winning the general election and, under that theory, Trump loses.”

The Guardian’s Smith notes that Bolton “… joins Trump’s vice-president Mike Pence, secretary of state Mike Pompeo, attorney general William Barr, UN ambassador Nikki Haley, chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and onetime ally Chris Christie in a growing rebellion among alumni making the case – overtly or subtly – that Trump has become an electoral liability.”

You can read more here.

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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