'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

April 3, 2014

Guests: Nia-Malika Henderson, Jeffrey Lieberman

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: The Koch brothers are mad as hell
and they`re not going to take it anymore. Today, Charles Koch wrote an op-
ed piece attacking President Obama and the Democrats. And one Republican
senator decided the very best way to prove that he isn`t in the pocket of
billionaires was to go on to the Senate floor and read the billionaire`s
op-ed piece word for word.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The biggest story in American politics.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The GOP is addicted to Koch.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: The Koch brothers could spend
hundreds and hundreds --


SANDERS: -- and hundreds of millions of dollars to elect right-wing

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In politics, it just got a whole lot louder.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Supreme Court just rewrote the rules for
financing elections.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now a person can contribute as much as they

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Allows wealthy donors --

SANDERS: Like the Koch brothers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- to contribute to as many political
candidates and campaigns as they want.

RACHEL MADDOW, TRMS HOST: Oh, good, because those folks didn`t have
enough influence in our politics already.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did anybody think we needed more money in

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pushes the political system towards the concerns
of very rich people.

MADDOW: For the very fortunate people in our country who are bumping
up against that six-figure ceiling.

SANDERS: Like the Koch brothers.

MADDOW: Those folks now are free to be way, way, way, way more

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And away from people who can`t give much or
anything at all to politics.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If Citizens United opened a door, today`s
decision may well open a flood gate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t think that it blew the doors off.


O`DONNELL: Billionaire Charles Koch explained in a Wall Street op-ed
today why he and his brother David are pouring so much money into right
wing political causes and candidates. The explanation was right there in
the title of the piece. "I`m fighting to restore a free society. Instead
of welcoming free debate, collectivists engage in character assassination."

The op-ed piece then spent 884 words saying what the title had
already said so succinctly. Here is a sample. "The central belief and
fatal conceit of the current administration is that you are incapable of
running your own life. But those in power are capable of running it for
you. This is the essence of big government, and collectivism. Instead of
encouraging free and open debate, collectivists strive to discredit and
intimidate opponents."

One of the collectivists that Mr. Koch -- got to say that carefully -
- clearly had in mind is Senator Harry Reid who has taken to the Senate
floor to criticize the Koch brothers` political spending.


SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: Came from the great Senator
Pat Moynihan who said, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not
to their own facts. But I guess the Koch brother the have been able to buy
their facts over the years, not paying any attention to whether they were
true or false. And here`s the truth -- millions in political ads sponsored
by these two multibillionaires are misleading at best and outright false in
many instances.


O`DONNELL: Mr. Koch`s op-ed piece did not mention Harry Reid by
name, but there was little doubt who he was referring to when he wrote,
"Rather than trying to understand my vision for a free society or
accurately report the facts about Koch industries, our critics would have
you believe we`re un-American and trying to rig the system, that we`re
against environmental protection or eager to end workplace safety
standards. These falsehoods remind me of the late Senator Daniel Patrick
Moynihan`s observations, everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not
his own facts."

Apparently everyone is entitled to that famous Moynihan quote.

Here was Harry Reid`s reaction to the op-ed piece today.

REID: Most people here are familiar with the Koch brothers. I
helped make them a little more infamous or famous and I`m glad I`ve done
that. These two men are a pair of shadowy billionaires, spending millions
of dollars to rig our political system and who is it to help? Them. And
by every indication, my Republican colleagues are falling all over
themselves to help them advance their self-described radical philosophy.
Already, we`ve had one senator run to the Senate floor and he read word for
word that op-ed piece on to the floor.


O`DONNELL: Senator Reid was referring to the junior senator from
Kansas, Republican Jerry Moran, who did indeed go to the Senate floor and
read every word of Charles Koch`s op-ed piece, which is not the best way
for a senator to prove that he is not in the pocket of a billionaire.

Joining me now is E.J. Dionne, political analyst and columnist for
"The Washington Post" and Nia Malika-Henderson, also with "The Washington

E.J. Dionne, us collectivists had a very bad day in the David Koch
op-ed piece. I think he have used the word collectivist or collectivism
about half a dozen times in this thing. And Charles Koch, I believe, is 78
years old.

So, when he was in elementary school, that word was used here and
there before people started using communist and socialist. But the
thinking in that op-ed piece I think was captured completely in the title.

E.J. DIONNE, THE WASHINGTON POST: First of all, if that`s the best
we can do, I don`t think we collectivists are in any trouble at all. I
mean, I found it an astonishing piece. In the first place, this is a guy
who`s spending tens of millions of dollars attacking other people, and then
he is suddenly offended that people might hit him back?

And, you know, I write an op-ed column. He -- I will share with him
the comments written under my column or the e-mail I get which I can`t
recite on this family show. If you get into the debate, people are going
to hit you back. The notion he can attack people and not be accountable is

But some of the content of this is also remarkable. The fundamental
concepts of dignity, respect, equality before the law and personal freedom
are under attack by our own government. Does he think we are in Vladimir
Putin`s Russia? Or Pinochet`s Chile?

So, first, he attacks Obama and then later on in the piece, he brags
that he`s gotten awards for environmental health and safety excellence
since 2009, when Obama took office, some of them from the Environmental
Protection Agency. If this government is so awful, why is he bragging
about awards from the EPA? I found this an astonishing piece.

O`DONNELL: And, Nia, he says in the piece that our system, the
American system now, destroys value, raises costs, hinders innovation and
relegates millions of Americans to a life of poverty. Now, for a
billionaire who has gotten richer and richer and exponentially richer
during the Obama years, to say that this system destroys value while we see
everything he values going up is a particularly peculiar statement.

feel like Democrats are going to seize on all of this. You saw Harry Reid
there doing a bit of a victory dance today because he very much made this
happen. He sort of smoked the Koch brothers out of hiding, so that they
wanted to defend themselves in this "Wall Street Journal" editorial.

You also have Democrats like Kay Hagen, who is facing $7 million, $8
million in ads down in North Carolina, she`s also picked up this theme as
well and is tweeting incessantly about the Koch brothers and an outside

And she, of course, is trying to run a very local campaign in North
Carolina. So, I think the Koch brothers give the Democrats a boogie man.
There was some polling early on that suggested not many people knew who the
Koch brothers were. I think 50 percent of Americans didn`t know who they
were. But it feels like the Democrats found something of their stride here
and are trying to really paint the Koch brothers as the enemy of their
party and the enemy of what they want to do.

O`DONNELL: E.J., Charles Koch says in this piece that more
government means less liberty and liberty is the essence of what it means
to be American. But he doesn`t single out -- he doesn`t mention a single
government program that he would get rid of. He just says more government.

So, what in this government is too much government? What is the too
much government he`s talking about? He doesn`t say it in here?

DIONNE: You know, I was really struck by that line, too. That more
government means less liberty. And what I want to ask Mr. Koch is, has he
heard of Social Security and Medicare, which as far as I can tell gives
seniors more liberty? Has he heard of student loans and scholarships,
which give young people more liberty to improve themselves? Has he heard,
by the way, of Obamacare, which has given, you know, something like 10
million uninsured people the liberty of having health insurance he takes
for granted?

I thought that sentence defined the difference between those of us
who think that government has a role to play in enhancing people`s
autonomy, and those who just don`t want government to do anything because
they can do everything for themselves.

O`DONNELL: Nia, since he doesn`t tell us what he means by this loss
of liberty that apparently he has suffered, all you can gather from it is
that every tax dollar taken from the Koch family reduces the liberty of the
Koch family.

HENDERSON: Well, in some ways, yes. I mean, there are very much
interested in pushing policies that benefit them. And before they had a
lot of think tanks, Charles Koch, of course, ran for vice president in
1980, although in that ad, in the article he says that he was really
interested in education and he didn`t see much good in politics, and only
got interested in politics over the last ten years.

This is very much a dream come true for what they wanted to do.
They`ve had these policies -- or these sort of positions all along but they
haven`t had an army. Now, they finally have this Tea Party army and they
are looking at policy, they`re trying to sort of cloud the debate around
climate control because they have oil refineries.

So, I think they have met with some success in very much shaping the
debate, and it feels like Democrats have some work to do, some ground to
make up. And I think over these next weeks you`ll see them go up with ads
in some of these states like Louisiana, for instance, and really talk about
the Koch brothers and this undue outside influence.

O`DONNELL: We invited both of the Koch brothers to join us on the
program tonight and, E.J. and Nia, they couldn`t make it. They`re not

HENDERSON: Other plans.

DIONNE: We have to be here in their stead, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Yes. No, no, we would have had you, too, here, don`t
worry. We wouldn`t have bumped you. You know, I extended the invitation
forever. So we`ll see what happens.

HENDERSON: One of these days.

O`DONNELL: I would like to know, since they left it kind of blank,
what is this too much government? Are food stamps too much government? I
mean, that`s just where I would begin. I would very much like to know,
E.J., what is the government that they would dismantle.

DIONNE: Well, they haven`t said it. And I would like them on here.
I mean, they bragged about getting these awards from the EPA, but they
obviously don`t like EPA regulations of their companies. I presume a lot
of employers don`t like food safety regulations in their workplace.

But I think this goes to something, Lawrence. A lot of times you
hear people complain about regulation in the abstract, but they very rarely
say, well, I really don`t think workers should have all these rules so
they`re safe at work. They can`t say that.

So, I think it is the right question to ask them. And you can quote
Daniel Patrick Moynihan back at them yourself.

O`DONNELL: Oh, no, I think the quote has been overworked now.


O`DONNELL: No, you`re not going to catch me using that anymore.

Nia-Malika Henderson and E.J. Dionne, thank you both for joining me

HENDERSON: Thank you.

DIONNE: Great to be with you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, even John Boehner says it should be harder for
people with mental illness to buy guns but don`t expect him to do anything
about that. That`s next.

And a baseball player misses a couple of games for the birth of his
child and gets attacked by sports talk show nuts for putting the birth of a
child before baseball games.

And "The Rewrite" tonight, President Obama rewrites Paul Ryan`s
budget plans in his own words.


O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s episode of "I Agree with FOX News",
this time starring Charles Krauthammer.


single-payer system would at least have been logical and simple. If that`s
what the liberals have wanted, that`s probably what they should have gone

It would have been much cleaner had they gone on the way to full
government control. A single-player plan like they have in Canada, like
they have in Britain would make a lot more sense.


O`DONNELL: That is the newest and most inventive FOX News attacks on
President Obama`s Affordable Care Act.

Of course, if President Obama had tried to remove insurance company
profits as one of the driving forces of our health care system and gone for
single payer, Charles Krauthammer and FOX News would have fought against
that just as hard as they fought against the Affordable Care Act.

Coming up, the owners of Hobby Lobby are opposed to providing
contraception coverage in their employees` health care plan, but they
invest in companies that make those very same contraception products.


O`DONNELL: Officials at Ft. Hood in Texas say at around 4:00 p.m.
yesterday, 34-year-old U.S. Army Specialist Ivan Lopez used his own gun, a
.45 caliber handgun, to open fire inside a building at the first medical
brigade on the base. He then got into a car while still firing and drove
to another building. Authorities say he entered the transportation
brigade`s administration building and then out in the parking lot, he was
confronted by a military police officer and then turned the gun on himself.

One of the victims killed in the attack has been identified as 37-
year-old Sergeant Timothy Owens, a 10-year army veteran.

Here is the president earlier this afternoon.


in many ways are with the families at Fort Hood. You know, these are folks
who make such extraordinary sacrifices for us each and every day for our
freedom. To see unspeakable senseless violence happen in a place where
they`re supposed to feel safe -- home base -- is tragic.


O`DONNELL: At a press conference today at Fort Hood, Texas Senator
John Cornyn said this --


SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: Mental health issues are the most
vexing issues from my perspective in terms of how do we identify people who
have genuine problems that need to be treated and need to be -- that they
need to be helped with.

But I think at the same time, we have to be very careful and not
paint with too broad a brush and assume that just because someone`s been in
combat that they necessarily have those issues. We shouldn`t stigmatize
healthy people who are resilient, who are able to deal with those stresses.
We ought to identify those pieces as best we can who do need the help and
get them the help they need.

And this remains one of the -- to me, one of the most vexing, but
also one of the most urgent issues. Not just with regard to the military,
but with the many mass shooting incidents we`ve seen, not only in the
military installations but in our country, period.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, the president of
the American Psychiatric Association, the chair of the department of
psychiatry in Columbia University.

And Patrick Murphy, an MSNBC contributor and former congressman. He
was also the first Iraq war veteran elected to Congress.

Let`s listen to what the secretary of what the Army said today about
the gunman.


JOHN MCHUGH, SECRETARY OF THE ARMY: His records show no wounds, no
involvement, direct involvement in combat. He was undergoing a variety of
treatment and diagnoses for mental health conditions, ranging from
depression to anxiety, to some sleep disturbance. He was described a
number of drugs to address those, including Ambien.

He was seen just last month by a psychiatrist. He was fully
examined, and as of this morning, we had no indication on the record of
that examination that there was any sign of likely violence, either to
himself or to others.


O`DONNELL: Dr. Lieberman, who does that sound to you? That someone
who ended up doing this showed no indication in any of the diagnoses that
were going on or any of the treatment procedures going on that this might

plausible. You know, clearly, somebody who does something like this is not
in their right mind. But on the other hand, there was no prior indication
by virtue of past psychiatric history or abnormal or unusual behavior, much
less tendency towards violence that suggested he was capable of this. But
it happened.

So, it`s a little mysterious, and one could say the military did
everything that one would expect and is appropriate, and this was just one
of these rare accidents or happens of fate.

On the other hand, this is another deja vu all over again, because
this has happened repeatedly. So we have to understand that something is
going on here that the usual methods are not able to identify in advance
and are only reacting to after it`s happened.

And other methods to try and interdict this before it gets to the
point where it explodes into some type of psychotic or acute psychiatric
disturbance, potentially complicated by suicide or violence before it

Now, this is something we can do. It requires sort of a shift in the
focus to instead of waiting until somebody shows symptoms, comes forward,
says they need treatment, to reaching out to them when we think there might
be the potential of this occurring. Like when individuals are returning
from a theatre of war a tour of duty in combat and coming back to the
States to try and reacclimate into this environment.

So, what I`m saying is that we need to do something different and
what we need to do is something which is more proactive and preventative.

O`DONNELL: Patrick, what about, just a general kind of debrief and
decompression process when soldiers are returning from the war theatres.

PATRICK MURPHY, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you come back and you go
through these, kind of check the box, do you have dream, do you have bad
dreams? You had bad thoughts?

O`DONNELL: How does that work? Are you just handed a form and you
fill that out?


MURPHY: The sooner you get it done, the sooner you can get off and
go see your loved ones. A lot of soldier, I know when I got back 10 years
ago, we were all just checking the boxes to get out of that --

O`DONNELL: It`s just paper work to get through.

MURPHY: Right. So, and, you know, we were all itching to go on
leave. We had been gone for a while. So, that`s how it is most of the

But the doctor is right, though. I mean, we have to break the stigma
of -- there`s nothing weak about going to the doctor. Listen, I`m having
bad dreams. I`m having a hard time.

It`s harder as a veteran, Lawrence. You know, we -- these are great
civic assets that come back. You know, there`s been 2.6 million veterans
from the Iraq and Afghanistan war. Over 2 million of them are fine. But
there are hundreds of thousands who suffer from post traumatic stress
disorder or TBI, traumatic brain injury. And we can`t leave anyone behind.
Every day in America, on average, there are 22 veterans that commit

So it`s tough for me who`s a big veteran proponent and they do great,
wonderful things -- at the same time, you know, you see veterans who are
really struggling. And as a country, you know, the country did go to war.
It was less than 1 percent of America that went to war, and their families
that have this incredible burden.

In this case, Specialist Lopez, you know, he just lost his mother.
No one knows why he did this. But it`s so rare, and hopefully, it doesn`t
taint every branch (ph). It shouldn`t.

O`DONNELL: Doctor, what recommendations would you make to the mill
in the aftermath of this?

LIEBERMAN: Well, first of all, I would say, this is not about who to
blame and point the fingers at, there`s no fault here. It`s how do we do

The truth be told, our country, the world has historically given
short shrift to mental health care it`s been stigmatized, neglected, under-
recognized, undertreated. We`ve made great strides, particularly in the
last half century, understanding better how the brain relates to behavior
and disturbances and how we can treat that. We`ve addressed some of the
past misdeeds that have been done.

In the military, this is even more dramatic, because is there
anything more antithetical to the military ethos than saying
psychologically, I`m afraid, I can`t function mentally, I can`t face what
the challenges are?

So, the military has had a hard time coming to this moment of
reckoning, you know, World War I, shell-shock. World War II, battle
fatigue, combat neuroses. Korea, Vietnam, thousand yard stare.

But now, because of the undeniable rates of PTSD, suicide, violence,
military has gotten religion fast. But even doing the conventional
psychiatric treatment is not sufficient and we should do more. We can do
more but it requires sort of changing the standard mode of care.

When Patrick says that it`s a proportion of people that are affected
and the others come back and they don`t show these affects, that`s true,
but that`s because they`re so resilient they can compensate for it. The
reality is that everybody is significantly affected. It`s only some that
go over the edge.

O`DONNELL: They`ve had that exposure.

And, Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman and Patrick Murphy, thank you both for
joining me tonight.

Coming up, what`s wrong with a guy taking three days off to help his
wife when she gets birth to a child? Apparently, a lot if you`re a
professional baseball player, according to some sports nuts. That`s next.


O`DONNELL: In the "Spotlight" tonight, professional sports and paternity
leave. On Monday night, Daniel Murphy became a father for the first time
when he and his wife Tory welcomed a baby boy who they named Noah into this
world. Monday night was also opening day for his team the New York Mets.
Since major league baseball allows players to take up to three days off for
paternity leave, Daniel Murphy we remained with his wife and missed two of
the Mets game.

Sports radio host and former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason did not approve
of the Murphy family`s decision.


BOOMER ESIASON, FORMER NFL PLAYER: A c-section before the season starts.
I need to be at opening day. I`m sorry. This is what makes our money,
this is how we are going to live our life. This is going to give my child
every opportunity to be a success in life. I will be able to afford any
college I want to send my kid to because I`m a baseball player.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Assuming everything goes right, mom is healthy --

ESIASON: Yes, yes, no complications.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No complications.

ESIASON: Get your ass back to work.


O`DONNELL: Later in the day, Boomer Esiason`s colleague at WFAN radio in
New York City Mike Francesa agreed.


MIKE FRANCESA, FORMER NFL PLAYER: I don`t know why they need three days
off, to be honest. I mean, you see the birth and you get back. I mean,
why -- what do you do in the first couple of days? Your wife doesn`t need
your help the first couple of days, you know that. You`re not doing much
the first couple of days being born. One day goes in the baby being born
and then go back. You are amazing baseball player. You can hire a nurse
to take care of the baby if you are worried to his health.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now Deadspin columnist Drew Magary, father of three
and the author of the book "someone could get hurt; a memoir of 21st
century parenthood," and the host of MSNBC`s "the Cycle" and mother of two,
Krystal Ball.

OK, Krystal, I want you to close your eyes and imagine you are married to
Boomer Esiason. Keep your eyes closed. And he says to you, Krystal,
listen, a c-section before the season starts. I need to be at opening day,
I`m sorry. This is what makes our money, this is how we`re going to live
our lives. When you open your eyes, what do you say to boomer?

KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: I don`t think that marriage is going
to -- hypothetical fantastic call marriage is going to last very long. I
mean, first of all, we`re talking about three days, two games out of 162-
game season that they`re freaking out about is unbelievable. And they have
this idea that baseball, two games of baseball is somehow more important
than a child, than a child`s birth. Then a supporting your wife. And I
love the part, well, what are you going to do in those first days anyway,
your wife doesn`t need your help. You`re not doing anything. I mean, --

O`DONNELL: That I believe was Francesa, the other guy.

BALL: Those people have obviously never had a baby and have no awareness
of the fact that those are the days that the most difficult.

O`DONNELL: These guys are father, both of them.

BALL: It`s such an old school mentality.

O`DONNELL: Krystal`s point about, hey, this is two out of 162 games. I
guess the Mets have lost all of their games, including -- now, Daniel
Murphy came back, right? And when he came back to play, he made a couple
of errors, what did he do?

DREW MAGARY, COLUMNIST, DEADSPIN: He didn`t have any sleep. Of course he
made a few errors. I would make like 650 errors.

O`DONNELL: Right. So, I don`t think you want Daniel Murphy out there on
the actual day on the birth of his child. I think he might be distracted
at second base.

MAGARY: Yes. It`s 2014, I mean, fathers actually do stuff now. And you
know, what Esiason and Francesa are saying is, you know, they`re basically
part of the, you know, softening of America crowd, you know, I can`t use
the word here on this show, but it rhymes with wussification (ph). You
know what I`m saying? Oh, the man is helping, well, there goes the
neighborhood, you know.

And so, the attitude is that, you know, if the man is, you know, it he has
to be home for the birth and he has to be home for a couple of days
afterwards, changing the diapers or whatever Francesa, you know, turns his
nose so bad, that you know, he is essentially, you know, it`s part of the
collective henpecking of the American male, right?

Well, he doesn`t have any domain over his house. Doesn`t he control over
his wife and children. And it is just like that sort of, you`re not a real
man because, you know, I`m the real man. I`m Mike Francesa. I`m the one
who sees the kid born and then I go to my job which starts at 1:00 p.m. and
I work five hours a day. And my job is to dry up my own ego on the radio
for five hours.

O`DONNELL: This is what Daniel Murphy said today to ESPN about this. He
said my wife and I discussed it and we felt the best thing for my family
was for me to try to stay for an extra day, that being Wednesday due to the
fact that she can`t travel for two weeks. Having me there helped a lot and
vice versa, to take some of the load off. It felt for us like the right
decision to make.

Krystal, it is outrageous that he had to even say that.

BALL: Yes.

O`DONNELL: The fact that he had to have a response is crazy.

BALL: Yes. Absolutely. And I think Drew hits on something really
important here too. Because the idea from Boomer is that it is a more
manly thing to do to rush back to work. and that is the real sacrifices to
get, back to work.

It`s very hard to be there in those first few days. I mean, it`s a
wonderful experience but it`s grueling and taxing to be there for a newborn
baby who`s not sleeping and supporting your wife who just been through
childbirth. I mean, that is a challenging and manly thing to do as well.

Sometimes when you have children, it is much easier and you want to
actually go back to work to have a break from them. So I think the idea
that it is the manly option to rush back is just an absurdity in and of

O`DONNELL: And any father who followed Boomer`s and Francesa`s advice
should regret it for the rest of their lives. And it turns out, the
callers to these shows don`t agree with the hosts so much on this. Let`s
listen to what Francesa had to listen to from his callers.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t care what business you are in. I mean,
personally I think, you know, society has come to the point where we
recognize this is probably one of the most important milestones and people
are taking the time to be with their family. I think for you to see oh,
it`s OK, let`s throw the money at a nurse and have them take care of the
kid and now let Daniel Murphy take two days at the beginning of the season
is crazy.


O`DONNELL: Crazy. I mean, Drew, the callers didn`t exactly fall for this.

MAGARY: Yes. And the Mets were chill with it, too. The Mets were like
yes, we`re fine. I mean, listen. The Mets have been on leave for ten
years now. So, I mean, this is not out of the ordinary for them.

But I think that Francesa`s job is to embody every stupid, you know, New
York meat head stereotype and send that out to people and get a reaction
from it. And that`s what he did. But, you know, the average normal human
being who works at a regular job. I took paternity three times. After a
week I wanted to get the hell out of there, but I took it.

O`DONNELL: Drew Magary and Krystal Ball, thank you both for joining me

BALL: Thank you, Lawrence.

MAGARY: Anytime.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Hobby Lobby went to the Supreme Court because they
don`t want to pay for contraception coverage in their women`s employees`
health care plans. But spending money investing in companies that make
those contraceptive products? Totally fine with Hobby Lobby.


O`DONNELL: The IRS scandal has finally been discovered by the IRS
commissioner. As viewers of this program now, the real IRS scandal
involving 501c4 occurred in 1959 when the IRS changed Congress`s intent in
the enforcement of the 501c4 provision.

After this program was the first to point that out, several members of
Congress began pursuing the real scandal at the IRS.


REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: The original statute passed by
Congress requires 501c4 organizations engaged exclusively in social welfare
activities. But in 1959, the treasury department issued a regulation that
requires these entities only to be primarily engaged in social welfare

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exclusively and primarily, there`s a dramatic

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn`t see a vote for primarily. I saw a vote for

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The statute says exclusively.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Operated exclusively for the promotion of social

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The statute provides one definition of 501c4 while the
IRS regulations say something different.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop this regulation interpretation from 1959.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The law is exclusively.


O`DONNELL: And now finally in a speech yesterday to the national press
club, which means that some members of the Washington press corps might
actually have been listening, the new IRS commissioner John Koskinen said
this --


JOHN KOSKINEN, IRS COMMISSIONER: As you know, the statue says that you
should be exclusively a social welfare organization. The regulation issued
in 1959 by the IRS said you should be primarily a social welfare
organization. Had somebody in 1959 said, the statute says exclusively so
you can`t do anything but social welfare activities, you know, life would
have been different and we probably wouldn`t have had this problem.


O`DONNELL: No, you wouldn`t have had this problem. And not one tea party
group, not one liberal group, no political group of any kind would ever be
granted 501c4 tax exempt status. The rewrite is next.


O`DONNELL: In the rewrite tonight, don`t boo, organize. That was
President Obama`s message this week when outlined that what will surely be
the playbook for the Democrats in their congressional and senate campaigns
this year. He went to the University of Michigan to give a previously
scheduled speech about the minimum wage and no doubt did some last-minute
rewrites on that speech after Paul Ryan released his new budget.


in Congress put forward a budget for the country that I believe would
shrink opportunity for your generation. It starts by giving a massive tax
cut to households making more than $1 million, the very folks who have
benefited the most over the last 20 years from this economy that is
benefitting people at the top.

If this all sounds familiar, it should be familiar, because it was their
economic plan in the 2012 campaign. It was their economic plan in 2010.
It`s like that movie groundhog day. except it`s not funny.

They`re not necessarily cold hearted, they just sincerely believe that if
we give more tax breaks to a fortunate few and we invest less in the middle
class and we reduce or eliminate the safety net for the poor and the sick
and we cut food stamps and we cut Medicaid and we let banks and polluters
and credit card companies and insurers do only what`s best for their bottom
line without the responsibility to the rest of us, then somehow the economy
will boom and jobs and prosperity will trickle down to everybody. And when
I say it that way, I know it sounds like I`m exaggerating, except I`m not.
This is their theory.


O`DONNELL: The president did give Republicans credit for their one
original idea.


OBAMA: Now, to give them credit, they do have one original idea, which is
to repeal Obamacare because they haven`t tried that 50 times. Fifty times
they tried to do that. So that means, they would take away health coverage
not only from more than seven million Americans who done the responsible
thing, signed up, buy health care for themselves and their families. But
the three million young adults who has been able to stay on your parents
plan under this law. What I just told you about being able to stay in your
parent`s -- Republicans don`t like that.


O`DONNELL: And then the president turned to what was supposed to be the
focus of the speech, minimum wage. And he rewrote the Republican position
on the minimum wage to just four words -- get off my lawn.


OBAMA: Nearly, three in four Americans support raising the minimum wage,
nearly three in four. Here`s the problem, Republicans in Congress -- not
Republicans out in America, because some of them get paid the minimum wage.
So they want to see it raised. Republicans in Congress don`t want to vote
to raise it at all.

In fact, some want to just scrap the minimum wage. One house Republican
said it`s outlived its usefulness. No, that`s what he said. Other said --
No, no, no. Don`t boo. Organize.


OBAMA: They may not hear the boos but they can read a petition and they
can see votes. You`ve got some Republicans saying we shouldn`t raise the
minimum wage because, they said this, because well, it just helps young

Now, first of all, I think it`s pretty good to help young people. I don`t
know what`s wrong with helping young people. Folks who say that, next
thing you know, they`ll say, get off my lawn.



O`DONNELL: The owners of Hobby Lobby are morally opposed to paying for
contraceptive coverage in their health insurance plans, but Hobby Lobby
actually invests in the companies that make contraception products. That
story is next.



STEVE GREEN, PRESIDENT, HOBBY LOBBY: We believe that this country is not
ours but we are stewards of it because God has blessed us with it. And
we`re called to operate it according to biblical principles. That`s what
we believe and we cannot do otherwise.


O`DONNELL: That was the president of Hobby Lobby, which as you know has
been arguing to the Supreme Court that the company`s owners are morally
opposed to providing contraception coverage in the employees` health care
plans. But Molly Redden of "Mother Jones" has found, quote, this is from
her report, "documents filed with the department of labor and dated
December 2012, three months after the company`s owners filed their lawsuit
show that the Hobby Lobby 401(k) employee retirement plan held more than
$73 million in mutual funds with investments in companies that produce
emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices and drugs commonly used
in abortions."

Several of the mutual funds have stock holdings in companies that
manufacture the specific drugs and devices that the Green family has told
the Supreme Court they do not want to include in their employees` health
care plan.

Joining me now, the author of this extraordinary article, Molly Redden,
staff writer for "Mother Jones."

Molly, I really am surprised because there are investment counselors out
there who can guide you if you want them to avoid these kinds of stock

"Mother Jones" reporters are not in the habit of looking into the 401(k)
funds of companies that are in the news. We thought it was appropriate
with Hobby Lobby because Hobby Lobby was so offended by the notion that
their employee health care plans might one day cover emergency
contraception for one of their thousands of female employees that they want
all the way to the Supreme Court.

And so that being the case, you know, there are a lot of steps between the
Green`s money, the people who own Hobby Lobby and their employee at the
drugstore counter. And so, we felt it was fair to point out that even
though there are a lot of steps between Hobby Lobby making a do nation --
you know, making a matching do nation to their employee`s 401(k), their
employee choosing mutual fund, the mutual fund having hundreds of holding
and making investments in the -- well, when we say investment, buying stock
in some of these companies. That`s a lot of steps, but sort of the same
number of steps between, you know, the --

O`DONNELL: I think it`s even closer. Because the truth of the matter is
that most of the users of their health care plan, most of them would not
use the actual contraceptive products that they`re opposed to. There are
another 16 contraceptive products they`re OK with. But those, the specific
ones they`re morally opposed to, to invest in those products for profit to
me is a much more direct moral connection to those products than the
theoretically possible of them being used in a health care plan. Did the
Supreme Court hear about this because this sounds directly relevant to the

REDDEN: They didn`t. And, in fact, the Supreme Court neither side,
neither the government nor the Greens asked the justices to weigh the
sincerity of the Greens` religious beliefs and I think that`s a good thing.
We don`t want judges weighing in on how sincere they believe people`s
beliefs are.

But I do want to point out the Greens argued before the Supreme Court that
the emergency contraceptives that they`re trying to expel from their
employees` health care plans, they say they`re causing abortions. And they
don`t. El la and plan b don`t cause abortions. But some of the
pharmaceutical products some of these companies in the 401(k) holdings,
they actually do make drugs that are meant to be used in abortions.

O`DONNELL: And they are -- Hobby Lobby are invested in those companies

REDDEN: Invested is a strong word. As we said, there are couple of steps.
But yes, that`s in the holdings. Hobby Lobby didn`t respond to my request
for comment, by the way. But I`ll be interested if they do at any point,
and other reports` question and see if they have made changes and if they
feel that this is a contradiction.

O`DONNELL: Well, I think the plaintiffs` actions in this area would be
relevant to the argument they`re making in the health care area. And you
can raise this without getting into, you know, the legitimacy of their
religious belief here. But they`re talking about the application of those
beliefs. If you show an inconsistent pattern, it seems to be relevant to

Molly Redden, thank you for this extraordinary report. Thanks for joining
us tonight.

REDDEN: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.


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