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Dems May Not Be So Willing to Back White House in IRS Scandal

Some early indications from Capitol Hill even before news broke of the Justice Department actions that have mortified free-press advocates.

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

May 13, 2013 - 7:12 pm
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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), on the floor of the upper chamber today, carefully tread the administration strategy of distancing the scandal from Washington when he said “the alleged actions of IRS employees in the Cincinnati field office are a terrible breach of the public’s trust.”

“Targeting any group based on its political stance is completely inappropriate. We need to get to the bottom of what happened here,” Reid said. “In the meantime, no one should jump to conclusions. But rest assured, as soon as we have the Inspector General’s report, the Senate will quickly take appropriate action.”

Gaggling with reporters aboard Air Force One en route to a string of New York fundraisers today, White House press secretary Jay Carney said “the White House Counsel’s Office was alerted in the week of April 22nd of this year, only about the fact that the IG was finishing a review about matters involving the office in Cincinnati.”

Appearing at a joint news conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron this morning, President Obama said he “first learned about it from the same news reports that I think most people learned about this, I think it was on Friday.”

“So we’ll wait and see what exactly all the details and the facts are. But, I’ve got not patience with it. I will not tolerate it, and we will make sure that we find out exactly what happened on this,” the president said.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) vowed to hold hearings into the IRS actions, and Reid said he has “full confidence in the abilities of Senator Baucus and the Finance Committee to get to the bottom of this matter and recommend appropriate action.”

But the House Ways and Means Committee beat other committees to the punch, with a Friday morning hearing scheduled on “the Internal Revenue Service’s practice of discriminating against applicants for tax-exempt status based on the political leanings of the applicants.” Acting IRS Commissioner Steve Miller is on the witness list.

Obama hasn’t filled the post since his first-term IRS commissioner, Douglas Shulman, left three days after his re-election.

J. Russell George, the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration who led the report against the IRS due out this week, will also appear before Chairman Dave Camp’s (R-Mich.) panel.

Camp jointly announced the hearing with the committee’s ranking member, Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.).

“The American people must have the fullest confidence that organizations requesting tax exemption receive completely unbiased treatment from the Internal Revenue Service and are never singled out by name or political views,” Rep. Levin said. “The nation deserves a complete understanding of this matter, and as Chairman Camp and I discussed this morning, it is essential that there be a thorough and bipartisan investigation and effective remedial action.”

Other Democrats on the House side joined in the condemnation, with Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) telling MSNBC that “heads need to roll” if the IRS was singling certain political groups.

“If was targeting conservative groups for selective enforcement, that ought to be concerning to all Democrats and Republicans alike,” Schiff said, though adding that Republicans ignored his call for a similar probe after a liberal church in his district was audited “in what looked like a very selective way.”

“But I’m glad now that the GOP has found interest in this issue and it ought to be a bipartisan concern,” Schiff continued. “The IRS absolutely should not be picking winners and losers or picking political ideologies. It ought to neutrally enforce its regulations regardless of the political point of view of an organization.”

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Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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All Comments   (32)
All Comments   (32)
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“Reports of politically biased targeting within the Internal Revenue Service are deeply disturbing…”

The media are in a tight spot here. They shot their wad keeping the lid on Benghazi to help make the reelection safe, and delivered a solid cover up of the cover up. But to intentionally misreport on the abuse of IRS powers for political reasons could damage the mainstream media’s credibility, empty their magazine, so to speak. Prez Barack Hussein needs to ride out the IRS scandal on his own, with the usual quips about “Chicago thug politics blah blah” and he’ll be fine. Plus, people tend to be sensitive about a politicized IRS. The media simply can’t use up their store of effective political bias to cover up the political bias in the IRS.

Sure, the media are solidly in Barack’s globo-socialist corner, but they can do only so much. They need to keep appearances up to be able to shoot their rounds for the elections next year, which are very important, and then in three years to help make sure that Hillary is safely elected.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sorry, but they will stick together. You are talking about people the have principles, but Democrats do not.

See The Two Minute Conservative via Google or: http://tinyurl.com/7jgh7wv When you speak ladies will swoon and liberal gentlemen will weep.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why would the IRS single out certain groups if not to provide information to the opponents of targeted groups? Obmam's comment denouncing the IRS alleged actions ring hollow. He was the plain beneficiary of IRS dirty tricks. Who does he think he is kidding? Plausible deniability is a defense that has to go away. It strips reponsibility and accountability from the president and the cabinet. It makes the top of the administrative branch a puppet show. The Republic cannot stand for this defense to be used anymore.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Didn't Jay Carney try to tell us that Benghazi was "old news?" Well, this IRS scandal appears to be even older, but it surely came to the forefront at an opportune time. It needs attention, but let's not allow it to overshadow Benghazi investigation.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
You will have noticed, of course, that the most vocal Democrats on the IRS scandal face an election in 2014.

I'm going to say again - if you believe the Administration had no influence or knowledge of IRS' actions you are so naïve you need to change your diaper. Oh, and I've got a bridge you need to see.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm not sure what Franken's point is. Is not Organizing for Action a non-profit organization, and is it's goal not "to mobilize supporters in favor of Obama's legislative priorities"? So Tea Party nonprofits are also engaging in politics - but that's baaaad? Yer bias is showing, Al.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
These Democrats are likely, behind the scenes, even more outraged than their public comments reveal. Surely they (and the silent Dems hoping and praying that the Republicans will lie down, shut up, & function as doormats) recognize that, if this is allowed to become commonplace and a precedent; they place their various radical groups in great peril.

For then, Republicans would be "chomping at the bit" to be back in full power a la the Obama-Pelosi-Reid triumvirate. They would "slash and burn" various radical far-left groups with suspect missions & goals--purported to be dedicated to "social justice" et al.

In a bit of an aside, Obama foolishly thinks the American people to be brain-dead when he makes ridiculous statements in ridiculous venues (from USA Today article):

At a fundraiser in New York for Democratic Congressional candidates, Obama lamented that some Republicans are "fearful of their base and they're concerned about what Rush Limbaugh might say about them. "

"My intentions over the next 3 ½ years are to govern," Obama said. "If there are folks who are more interested in winning elections than they are thinking about the next generation then I want to make sure there are consequences to that."

Has not his WHOLE political life been dedicated to the singular, overriding, paramount goal of winning elections--with governing a mere hobby. Come to think of it, governing is # 3 on the list of priorities: 1. Winning elections 2. Winning adoration of the American people as the Celebrity of All Celebrities. 3. Hobby-governing (this phrasing, in itself is drawn from the practice that I have observed while living in various parts of the country--a lot of fellows have their primary vocation, which is supplemented with some income from "Hobby-farming").
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
These Democrats are likely, behind the scenes, even more outraged than their public comments reveal. Surely they (and the silent Dems hoping and praying that the Republicans will lie down, shut up, & function as doormats) recognize that, if this is allowed to become commonplace and a precedent; they place their various radical groups in great peril.

For then, Republicans would be "chomping at the bit" to be back in full power a la the Obama-Pelosi-Reid triumvirate. They would "slash and burn" various radical far-left groups with suspect missions & goals--purported to be dedicated to "social justice" et al.

In a bit of an aside, Obama foolishly thinks the American people to be brain-dead when he makes ridiculous statements in ridiculous venues (from USA Today article):

At a fundraiser in New York for Democratic Congressional candidates, Obama lamented that some Republicans are "fearful of their base and they're concerned about what Rush Limbaugh might say about them. "

"My intentions over the next 3 ½ years are to govern," Obama said. "If there are folks who are more interested in winning elections than they are thinking about the next generation then I want to make sure there are consequences to that."

Has not his WHOLE political life been dedicated to the singular, overriding, paramount goal of winning elections--with governing a mere hobby. Come to think of it, governing is # 3 on the list of priorities: 1. Winning elections 2. Winning adoration of the American people as the Celebrity of All Celebrities. 3. Hobby-governing (this phrasing, in itself is drawn from the practice that I have observed while living in various parts of the country--a lot of fellows have their primary vocation, which is supplemented with some income from "Hobby-farming").
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wow, this must be really tough on the President.
He should take the wife and kids to Hawaii for a few weeks until his administration can figure out a way to pin this on Bush.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Perhaps the stench is so great the Democrats With Bylines can't ignore it, but they are a long way from targeting His Holiness. A Junior Woodchuck functionary will be identified and publicly vilified and then -- it will be back to business as usual.

Cynical? Who, me?

Just give yourself a few more years... .
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
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