John McCain Lashes Out at Judicial Watch over Damning IRS Doc Release

A recently disclosed batch of IRS records regarding the targeting of tea party groups has Senator John McCain lashing out at Judicial Watch and protesting his innocence on Twitter.

 

The IRS documents released by the government watchdog group on April 9 revealed that the senator, along with Senator Carl Levin, pressured the agency to go after political nonprofits - which turned out to be overwhelmingly conservative non-profits..

May 1, 2013, email exchange between Lois Lerner and other top IRS staffers revealed that 11 days prior to Lerner’s admission in a ABA meeting that the IRS had “inappropriately” targeted conservative groups, she met with select top staffers from the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee in a “marathon” meeting to discuss concerns raised by both Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that the IRS was not reining in political advocacy groups in response to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.  Senator McCain had been the chief sponsor of the McCain-Feingold Act and called the Citizens United decision, which overturned portions of the Act, one of the “worst decisions I have ever seen.” Among those attending the meeting were key aides to the committee minority ranking member, John McCain.

It is important to note that Judicial Watch never claimed the documents establish for a fact that McCain or his staff called on the IRS to target and attack conservatives specifically, although some online media outlets did make such allegations.

 “It wasn’t just the Obama Regime and the Democrats who were scheming with the Obama IRS to attack the freedom-loving, Constitution-supporting Tea Party grassroots movement,” according to that report. “It was establishment-backed Republican Senator John McCain, an unabashed enemy of conservatives who once called his conservative colleagues, wacko birds.”

McCain issued JW a written statement denying that his office had anything to do with the IRS targeting of conservative groups.

In the statement the senator refers to JW’s work sparking a “series of online reports falsely claiming that my office was somehow involved in the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups – reports that are demonstrably untrue and totally contradicted by my all of my actions over the past several years on this issue.” As evidence McCain offers a link to a dissenting report he released last fall refuting the Democrats’ Majority Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI) report claiming the IRS showed no bias against conservative groups. He also includes a newswire story published around the same time as proof that “media coverage at the time noted that I was in total disagreement with Senate Democrats on the issue of whether the IRS targeted conservative groups.”

McCain’s statement to JW goes on: “Like so many Americans, I was shocked and appalled by revelations that the IRS inappropriately singled out conservative groups for scrutiny, and that our tax system was used to target political opponents. As Ranking Member of the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, I devoted significant time and resources to help get to the bottom of this disturbing abuse of power by the IRS. Any article suggesting otherwise is simply wrong, and ignores the facts of my actions over the last several years.”

So if I have this straight -- McCain is shocked and appalled because his well-documented efforts to pressure the IRS into reining in political advocacy groups led to the IRS reining in political advocacy groups.

I believe the senator doth protest too much.