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tv   Erin Burnett Out Front  CNN  September 5, 2013 11:00pm-12:01am PDT

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all possible. tom forman, cnn. >> that's it for us. thanks for watching. erin burr et "outfront" starts now. who are the good guys in syria? the shocking new video tonight. it complicates the debate over the president's plans for military action. plus, another shocking report tonight thanks to nsa plus, another shocking report tonight thanks to nsa leaker edward snowden, the nsa spying on the only e-mails you thought were safe, literally. a 14-year-old commits suicide after being raped by a 54-year-old teacher. he was convicted and sentenced to 30 days in jail. tonight, the mother speaks out. let's go "outfront." good evening, everyone. i'm erin burnett. outfront tonight, who are the
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good guys in syria? there is new video tonight obtained by "the new york times" which payments frankly an unbelievable and horrific picture of the syrian opposition, the same opposition america would be helping with a military strike. this video we're about to show you was shot in april, smuggled out of the country by a former rebel who grew disgusted by the killings. i've watched this video several times today. sit shocking and i want to warn you, it is very graphic. but we believe it's important to show you. watch. [ speaking foreign language ] [ gunfire ] >> horrific to watch. how are images like that affecting the white house's push
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for intervention? jim acosta has been traveling with the president. jim, you watch that video, it is chilling and it is horrible. how are images like that playing into world leader concerns that president obama may not have this right? >> reporter: this goes to why the obama administration has been so cautious about getting involved in the civil war in syria, why the administration has been saying from president obama to secretary of state john kerry that they are not going to be getting boots on the ground in syria, that these limited strikes they're talking about are aimed at punishing bashar al assad's forces for their alleged use of chemical weapons. also not making things very easy on the president is vladamir putin, the russian president who is the host of this summit. president obama recently said that president putin looks like the board kid in the back of the classroom. well, not anymore. he's been taking every chance he can get to tweak the president when it comes to a variety of issues. >> of course, countries like
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china getting on board with russia. it doesn't necessarily feel like it's going in the president's favor. the number one ally of the united states used to be the uk, but the prime minister ruled out military action. this seems to leave president obama with a surprising ally, one close friend that people didn't necessarily expect. >> reporter: who would have thunk it? france during the iraq war, there were a lot of americans in the united states who were calling french fries freedom fries. when i talked to administration officials about this, they are very much praising the french these days and pointing to the french and the turks as two allies that are with the united states. they want to make the record clear that president obama is not going it alone on the world stage. he might be militarily, but not without support from a number of important allies. i think the french would say, look, they were involved in the u.s. mission in afghanistan. they were involved when it came
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to air strikes in libya, and that this is a continuation of this. and the french president does not have the same problems that the prime minister of the uk has. david cameron had to give the approval of parliament. the french president does not. in between those meetings at the g-20 summit which have been difficult for the president, president obama has been calling undecided senators back at home trying to convince them to authorize a strike. is he getting any more support? senator ron johnson, a republican who serves on the senate foreign relations committee. senator, thank you very much for taking the time. i want to play, again, because i know the viewers just saw this but you did not, but "the new york times" video of the syrian opposition. it's so powerful i wanted to play it for you. here it is, sir. [ speaking foreign language ] [ gunfire ]
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>> senator johnson, of course, that was syrian rebels standing behind shirtless members of the assad army who are lying on the ground and then those gunshots as they kill them. what's your reaction to that? >> well, it's horrific. of course, that makes the decision even more difficult. erin, let's face it, i don't envy president obama having to grapple with these extremely difficult and complex issues in syria. and so it's -- these are enormous and difficult issues. my problem is, in terms of deciding how to vote on these resolutions, in 25 hours after we started hearings in the senate, we were asked to vote on that. there are far too many questions
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that remain unanswered. what i intend to do over the next course -- over the next few days, the course of the next week, before i have to take that final vote, i want to get as many answers to those questions as possible. again, it's an enormous and difficult situation. >> it is difficult, because there is no obvious good guy. you've been under pressure from members of your own party that support strikes in syria. what's interesting is it's not just politics. members of the intelligence community have serious concerns and think that this strike could go ahead. i wanted to play two important comments here. >> it would be near catastrophic, i think, for american influence in the world for the american congress not to support this. >> i think he should go ahead and strike. >> this is a national security issue. this isn't about barack obama versus the congress. this isn't about republicans versus democrats. >> are you concerned, senator,
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about the repercussions at this point, if the united states does not act? >> absolutely. from my standpoint, the number one reason this is a national security concern of america is those chemical weapons stockpiles, if they fall in the wrong hands. if they fall into hands of al qaeda, that is a national security concern. in addition, the slaughter of 100,000 syrians, 2 million syrians that are pouring over the borders to stabilize the entire region. this does affect america. what is the strategy? what is going to be the effective strikes? you can make a case that if we do strike, that may be worse than taking no action at all. what it could do is rather than keep the world's attention on the heinous war crimes of the assad regime, it could turn the
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world's attention on our unilateral military action. these are difficult issues. it's hard to decide between very bad options. >> and they're all very bad. what, senator, is the bottom line? you voted no yesterday to authorize force, but you haven't decided. when this hits the floor -- that was a no more in principle. you might vote yes? >> i might, but i'm going to have to certainly get a lot better answer to questions i've been raising. the fact is, we had a vote in foreign relations 15-3 to start arming the vetted. let me underline the vetted rebels, which again are very difficult to identify. >> right. >> syria is by and large a secular nation. and there are people that did spring up to overthrow the assad regime. with need to identify those people in a far more robust way.
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i think a better strategy might be to really garner the global, the world support and shame anybody, that includes russia, potentially china, anybody that would support that heinous regime that committed these war crimes. we may be better off trying to shame and really, you know, put our efforts towards that opposed to a unilateral military strike. >> senator, thank you very much. heinous crimes by the regime and heinous crimes by some of the rebels, too. still to come, the tsa is making it a lot easier to move to security. and a day after ariel castro commits suicide, response from the women he held captive. a major development in the life of george zimmerman to tell you about. and the ceo of tesla motors, pulling off a major stunt.
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our second story outfront, keep your clothes on. the tsa says it's okay, they're expending their fast track
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screening program to another 60 airports by the end of the year. you pay $85, and then you can go through security without removing shoes, jacket, belt, all that kind of stuff. pretty nice, huh? $85. but does this put america's security at risk? or does it prove that costly tsa measures simply have never been worth all the taxpayer money? >> reporter: keep your shoes and belts on and don't bother removing your laptop computer, leave it in the bag. those are some of the perks being offered passengers. more than 15 million people have used the tsa's expedited program called precheck since it started in 2011. >> if they meet a certain eligibility threshold, the airline will call them and give them the ability to opt into the program. >> reporter: the program will go from 40 to 100 airports by the
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end of the year. passengers will be able to apply directly through the tsa. it costs $85 for five years and requires to provide fingerprints. but the big question is, does it undermine security? one aviation expert thinks so. >> to me, one of the grievous threats we have now is the person who has never crossed the line as far as the law is concerned. that has a perfect record, never gotten a traffic ticket, nothing, absolutely zero. that can pass this kind of a check with just a fingerprint and other information and $85. >> reporter: the tsa insists the program improves security. >> we look at it as an enhancement to security because it enables us to offer a benefit, expedited screening for
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passengers we know more about and focus resources more sharply on passengers we don't know as much about. >> reporter: it's expected to kick off this fall. our third story outfront, the fallout from ariel castro's suicide. the man convicted of holding three women captive for over a decade was found dead in his prison cell tuesday night. he committed suicide just over a month after being sent tensed to life plus 1,000 years behind bars. his three victims still have not said anything. martin savidge is outfront. the girls obviously haven't spoken directly yet, cnn did speak with a family member. so what do you know ant how the girls are reacting to castro's suicide? >> reporter: right. and that's correct, the girls have not spoken publicly. i talked to their attorneys and they say that is not going to happen. cnn's pamela brown did speak to the aunt of gina dejesus.
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the family is close friends with the castro family. they knew ariel. here's the end. >> i think it's closure for them. they finally got the closure. it's over. they're sad about his mother, but, you know, it's closure, finally over. end of this chapter. they can move on with their lives now. >> reporter: the girls, like many in this community, realize the separation. castro's family is not to blame here. castro was. and that's what is expressed by many. >> there have been reports that ariel castro's family is preparing to claim his body later tonight. what can you tell us about that and the plans from there? >> reporter: yeah, the process is under way. we know according to the coroner
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down there, just south of columbus, ohio, the body was claimed by a family member. it is now in transit. castro's family said no funeral, no wake, no service of any kind and most likely a simple cremation. >> martin, i was wondering where you are. you are at the site where ariel castro's home used to stand. amazing, that home we have all seen boarded up, now it's a garden. what is the cleveland community doing with that lot behind you? >> reporter: yeah, this is really my favorite part of the story so far. the land here is now opened by a land bank here locally. the house was torn down. this is sort of a phoenix that is rising from those horrible ashes. the flowers, roses, grasses here, it's all donated. it's being cared for every day. somebody comes by and waters it. this is a symbol of something much brighter than what used to be known as the house of
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horrors. >> thank you, martin. >> reporter: sure. and a big announcement from tesla motors. the ceo is going to spend six days driving 3200 miles from los angeles to new york city. the model s is an electric car. the stunt is designed to show off the capabilities of the tesla super charger stations, about to open in most metro areas. that's a big accomplishment. you can now get your car and your fuel from the same company. even though 90 minutes a day of fueling is kind of awful. but this trip is much as about him as the company. the founder of the company is the face of the company. he is tesla. for so many years we've been hearing the days of celebrity ceos are behind us, and the heads of companies have disappeared.
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it's businesses, not ceos, launching new products. that's clearly not fully true. what better way to herald the return of america's ceo driven culture by a ceo driving across america. exposing hundreds to hiv. there's a sense of panic in a missouri panic outside of st. louis because a man told police he may have exposed 300 people to hiv. his name is david lee mag mum. he was arrested after his former partner tested positive. paul, in missouri, if he knowing he exposed someone to hiv he can get 15 years. i'm shocked by the sentenced. it would seem if you knowingly
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exposed someone to hiv -- >> i thought you were shocked because it was so severe. but you're shocked -- >> the opposite. >> because you think lock them up, throw away the key. give them life. here's the problem. this is a disease. and it happens to be the only disease we're punishing under the criminal law like it's murder. a lot of people are saying treat this like a disease and not like a gun or a weapon, which is how missouri is treating hiv. >> and you're saying for example, if you infect someone with syphilis or something else, even though there is treatment for it, that they are there shall there is no sentence for that. >> there is in the sense that you can be charged with reckless conduct that hurts another person. that's always been the standard that we've had. if you knowingly infected somebody else with syphilis
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trying to hurt them, that's criminal and you could be prosecuted for that. but with aids, and with hiv, we changed the rules because people got panicky about it because of its uncurable nature. >> he said he didn't disclose his hiv status because of fear of rejection. how is that a defense? >> it's not a defense. he may say his partner got it from somebody else. who knows what he will say at trial? but that's not a good defense for him. >> everyone, let us know what you think. 15 years fair or life? still to come, what's at stake in syria. some say attacking syria could mean iran attacks america. and our investigation into the irs continues. the agency targeting some groups for political affiliations. and we have an answer to one of the biggest paternity questions of the year. who is the daddy? out there owning it.
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welcome back to the second half. george zimmerman might be getting a divorce. kelly sims, an attorney for shellie zimmerman, confirmed she filed for divorce today. it's not unexpected. a lot of times in a case like zimmerman where someone faces long jail time, a marriage fails. he said if george zimmerman chooses not to fight this in court, the divorce could be completed within one month. if you thought of encrypting your e-mails would keep the government from spying on you, think again.
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according to a report from the new york times, the nsa has employed several techniques for setting around your data. it includes using super fast computers to crack codes and the nsa is working with american companies to make their programs just weak enough to the nsa can break the codes. makes you think twice. well, it's a girl. the national zoo announced today that the panda cub born two weeks ago is in fact a girl. i guess it's not always that easy to tell. sometimes it takes a little while. another thing we did not know
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who is the father of this blob that one day will be a very cute panda. the reason this was in question, two different male pandas were used as donors to artificially inseminate the mother. so the zoo had to conduct a paternity test. it confirmed the father is a 16-year-old panda and long-time resident of the national zoo. in keeping with tradition, the cub's name will be announced 100 days after her birth. it's been 761 days since the u.s. lost its top credit rating. what are we doing to get it back? private employers added 176,000 jobs last month. this is a good sign. economists estimated employers added about 185,000 jobs last month. now the fifth story, the real truth about striking syria. it might be about iran.
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some say if the president does not act now after laying out his red lines, iran will be emboldened and plow ahead with building a nuclear bomb. others say if he does act, iran will be emboldened and use terror to strike america. our national security correspondent jim sciutto. jim, the administration has made a point, and many officials saying our action in syria is intended as a message for iran. what's at stake here? >> the administration wants to internationalize this and they're taking every opportunity, that it's about in effect all bad actors, hezbollah, north korea, but also certainly iran front and center. one because of its nuclear program and because of its close relationship with syria, and bashar al assad. we heard this from secretaries kerry and hagel this week. have a listen. >> iran is hoping you look the other way. our inaction would surely give
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them a permission slip for them to at least misinterpret our intention, if not to put it to the test. >> a refusal to act would undermine the credibility of america's other security commitments, including the president's commitment to prevent iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. >> reporter: so what's at stake specifically? with syria, it's about the use of chemical weapons. north korea, attacking the south. and with iran, about take thing nuclear program and turning it into an actual nuclear bomb. what's interesting, erin, this is happening as there are -- there's some warming or potential warming of the relationship with iran. you have some back channel communications, some shuttle diplomacy going on right now. as with everything involved with this syria decision, it's very complicated. it's not black and white. iran is part of the administration's calculation. >> jim, thank you. i want to bring in nicholas burns, former lead negotiator of
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iran's nuclear program. and alan dershowitz, author of "taking the stand, my life and the law." professor, let me start with you. you say the administration has to be tough and send a message to iran. you sent a tweet that caught my attention. this is what it said, obama, get approval from congress on iran now. that's a pretty incredible statement. why do you think he should get a congressional approval for military action there now? >> first of all, iran involves international security to a far greater extent than syria. syria was largely humanitarian, chemical weapons are not weapons that really endanger the united states. but nuclear weapons are a game changer. they provide iran an umbrella. they might hand some of those
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weapons over to terrorists. if the president will seek congressional approval before he acts, it would be too late to seek congressional approval after iran developed nuclear weapons the way he's seeking after syria has used chemical weapons. so the only logical thing is to seek approval in advance. that would send a powerful message to the iranians and prevent the need to use military action. >> you think the professor is dead wrong, nick? >> i would give him a for creativity for this issue and i agree iran is a much more serious issue to our national security than is syria. there are times when the president will have to obviously defer to the congress or at least let congress vote. this is always the case if the president has to consult with congress. but there are times when the president has to be able to act in secret. an example of that was the raid on osama bin laden.
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we spent -- president obama sent special forces 150 miles inside pakistan. that required secrecy. you don't always want to forecast to another government what you're going to do. it may be what the president needs on iran is flexibility, and he certainly has the authority under the constitution to act to protect the country against a foe like the iranians. >> the iranian president sent out a message. it was a significant tweet actually. this tweet i want to note could have been sent by someone on the president's behalf. it said, of course, on the jewish new year, as the sun is about to set here in tehran, i wish all jews a blessed rosh hashana. is this the real deal? >> that tweet is accurate, it's obviously a big change of course, at least in style and
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presentation of the iranian leadership. he's a very different figure than ahmadinejad. he has a track record cooperating fairly well with the europeans, but we shouldn't judge him on his style and poetry, we have to judge him on his actions. he works for a supreme leader, who is anti-american and has been trying to create a nuclear weapons program for iran. so what really matters is what iran does. we need to see pragmatic concessions on the nuclear issue before we're willing to judge they changed. >> professor? >> on the day that he sent out that tweet, samantha power, our representative to the u.n., announced that iran was making more trouble, that they are moving towards developing more centrifuges and she basically had to warn iran today that they're moving closer to obtaining nuclear weapons. i want to give the president flexibility. when congress says if they cross
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red lines, and the red lines involving iran are not specific, because the president has said they will not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. if there were congressional approval in advance, it doesn't say he has to act. even if the president had congressional approval to go after bin laden, that would have meant nothing. it would still be secret. i just think sending a message now that you can't prevent the president from keeping his promise by lobbying congress. the red line has been drafted by not only the president but the congress and the support of the american people. >> please let us know what you think. do you think it's smart for the president to get advanced military authorization to act against iran? still to come, a student kills herself. she was raped by her teacher. the teacher got only 30 days in jail. the victim's mother "outfront" tonight, next.
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our sixth story, will a 30-day sentence for rape stand? tonight, there is last minute legal wrangling in montana that has made headlines around the world. we've been follow thing story from day one. a high school teacher got only 30 days in jail for raping his 14-year-old student. she later killed herself. now the judge is backtracking on his sentence, but is it too little too late? >> reporter: excuse me, judge baugh. do you have just one minute? >> no, ma'am. >> reporter: judge baugh is in no mood to talk. he sparked a national outrage by sentencing stacey rambold to
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just 30 days in jail for raping his 14-year-old student. at sentencing, the judge said the victim, charise morales, seemed older than her chronological age. she committed suicide before the case went to trial. judge baugh's one-month sentence sparked protests in montana, anger across social media and now an appeal to the state supreme court from prosecutors. >> i want people to know that they need to have faith in their officials that handle matters in the criminal justice system. we will get this right. >> reporter: the prosecutor says there's a wrench in his appeal. judge baugh wants everyone back in his courtroom tomorrow, acknowledging he should have given rambold at least two years, not one month behind bars. >> he is seeking to correct that. >> reporter: so he is trying to fix an error on his part? >> yes, that's what the order indicates to me.
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>> reporter: but that's yet another mistake by judge baugh, says the prosecutor, and the defense to no one's surprise agrees. in a flurry of legal filings, they stay judge baugh can't change his sentence. the ball is now with the state supreme court. >> give the court credit for recognizing this, but there's a method to this, and the method tells us that the supreme court has to do that once a sentence has been pronounced. >> reporter: legal experts say it's rare to see a judge change his mind so much in just a week and a half. >> judges don't typically issue orders saying mea culpa or i may have been wrong. the traditional course is going to be wait to see what happens with the appeal. >> i know you just spoke to the teenager's mother, her first interview since he was announced. there might be a new hearing
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that could bring justice for her daughter. what did she tell you? >> reporter: well, what she said is what she thinks is really being lost here, erin, by the system, by this judge, is this is her loss. this is the loss of a life of a young girl, 14 years old, and she is going to be there tomorrow to try to remind everyone of that. here's what she told us. >> he needs to pay for his crime, and 31 days is not it. i mean, 31 days? she was a kid. she was my kid. i'm a little biased, though. you know, i don't know. whatever the judges decide, as long as it's more than 31 days, because that's a slap in the face. >> reporter: does it make a difference to you that the judge said he wants to -- he made a mistake, that he needs to go back and provide a longer sentence? does it change it for you? >> i don't know. he's apologized a couple of
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times. look, he's never apologized to me. he's just covering his butt. >> so all of these lawyers, all of these court filings, but in the middle of all of this is your child. what do you want people to remember about what happened to your daughter? >> you know, everybody says don't trust strangers. what does that say about -- you know, he was a teacher. he was the adult. >> do you want to tell the judge something about your daughter? did he forget your daughter do you think? >> i don't think he -- there's no way he could have known her. if he had known her, i'm sure he would have probably went out and shot the guy. isn't he from texas or something? >> reporter: and this is a loss, erin, that this woman says that you simply don't recover from. she said she'll be listening to the radio.
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she'll hear a song that she and her daughter loved and it brings her right back to square one. so she's hoping to get an appropriate sentence. >> thanks so much. every night we have the outfront outtake. yahoo! has a new logo. apparently this logo, launched in 2009, is a little stale. so they launched this logo to replace it. it doesn't seem all that different, but the ceo swears a lot of thought went into it. even released this blueprint explaining what they changed and why, including the company's last move, which was tilting the exclamation point by nine degrees to add a little whimsy. it was apparently a whole weekend to get nine degrees shifted. you have to wonder how many software engineers it would take to change a lightbulb at yahoo!. often, we the customer do not
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like change. not counting a brief makeover in the '80s, the coca cola logo has not changed in over 100 years. while pepsi has changed its look, coke is still number one by far. but there's one example of a major overhaul that worked. the fedex logo is drastically different than the original. tropicana orange juice faced a crisis when it swapped out the orange for a glass of juice. sales plummeted, no joke. this is why tropicana's website features bottles of orange juice living inside a giant orange. logos matter. what do you think of the new yahoo! logo? let us know. still to come, the latest installment of our special
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our seventh story, too political to be tax exempt? tonight, we're going to go to the heart of the targeting scandal that rocked the irs. our gloria borger looks into whether groups seeking tax exempt status are cheating the system. >> 23 million americans without full-time work. the result of president obama's failed stimulus policies. >> i think mitt romney is not in touch with the little guy. >> reporter: here they go again, more political ads paid for by political groups. right? actually, wrong. these ads are paid for by groups which are supposed to be exclusively devoted to something the law calls social welfare. helping to promote the common good. >> how can our president be so out of touch? >> reporter: does that sound
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like social welfare to you? of course not. but these groups say they do just that. and in return, they get a gift from you, the taxpayer. they're tax exempt. so how does that happen? over the years, the irs has allowed groups to stay tax exempt if they simply spend less than half of their money on politics. say 49%. so you don't have to be exclusively devoted to social welfare as the law states. but just primarily devoted to it. get it? so only in washington does exclusive mean primarily? >> i think most people fairly early grade would know that that is a total mangling of the english language. but that is exactly what happened. they've totally changed the plain meaning of the word exclusive. i think nibble knows that exclusive means that's the only thing you should be engaged in. >> reporter: senior house
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democrat chris van hollen is filing a lawsuit to force the irs to enforce the law as it's written. >> the law is very clear. if you want to be a tax exempt organization, you should be exclusively involved in social welfare activities. >> reporter: robert maguire tracks these groups for the center for responsive politics. >> they're pushing the limits of what they should be able to do in order to influence the outcomes of elections. it's very difficult to figure out what the irs is actually thinking when it comes to how they evaluate these groups. >> reporter: that's because the irs doesn't seem to know itself. so when confronted with a barrage of new applicants for new tax exempt status, some agents began a clumsy investigation into the exact mission of some groups. culling the names that sounded decidedly political like tea party or progressives or patriot. it blew up.
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>> this is a problem of the irs being too large, too powerful, too inclusive and too abusive. >> reporter: some remain convinced that the irs was abusing its power. others say it was just dumb. for its part, the irs says whatever occurred was not intentional and working to make sure it won't happen again. but all the pounding of the pinata doesn't answer the underlying question -- why should some of these groups qualify for the same tax exempt status as your local volunteer fire company? >> again, it's almost an invitation as the law is written for abuse in terms of political activities. >> it's something we have to look at closely, yes, sir. >> reporter: that's because these groups are big players and getting bigger. in 2012, they spent at least $256 million on political activity. they're really popular because they offer something that other
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groups cannot -- donor anonymity and less disclosure. >> this, in my view, has a slow corrupting impact on the system, because now you have a vehicle for millions of dollars of secret money. >> reporter: for all parties. but it's lopsided. 85% of the money spent by these groups last year was on the conservative side. >> obama and tester dug the hole. they want people in montana to pay the price. >> reporter: besides airing political ads, these groups say they deserve tax exempt status because they engage in education and advocacy efforts. >> social welfare means the group is working for betterment of our country or our society in some fashion. there are many ways to do this. i see political activity as really a tactic. it's not a purpose of the organization. >> reporter: david keating of the center for competitive politics, who wants less regulation, says these groups are just helping the political dialogue. >> as long as that's not a
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majority of their effort or majority of their tactics, then they are a social welfare group. >> reporter: and that's the way it stands, at least for now. ironically, one of the most perverse results of the irs controversy is this, some of these tax exempt groups, which could use some real scrutiny, are much less likely to get it now. the political dangers of wading back into that pool may be just too high, erin. >> thanks for joining us. we'll see you again tomorrow. piers morgan is next. [ male announcer ] these days, a small business can save by sharing.
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[ applause ] i'm chris cuomo in for piers. welcome to the viewers in the united states and around the world. welcome to "syria in crisis" a live town hall special. all right. this is your chance to ask questions and tell us what you think. we've got a power packed panel of experts here and we want your questions. you can tweet them, use my name at chrismo