I’m counting the minutes:
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio., requested the IG look into allegations of political retaliation last June. In response to the today’s disclosure and apology by IRS, Issa and Jordan issued the following statement:
“The fact that Americans were targeted by the IRS because of their political beliefs is unconscionable. The Committee will aggressively follow up on the IG report and hold responsible officials accountable for this political retaliation.”
When Issa et al. first looked into this last year, the commissioner of the IRS assured them it was much ado about nothing. In reality, roughly 75 conservative groups were targeted. And according to David French, who’s been working the cases for the ACLJ, it wasn’t just the Cincinnati office that hassled them. He claims they also had “voluminous communication” with offices in California and D.C.
Like McConnell says, political thuggery:
“Today’s acknowledgement by the Obama administration that the IRS did in fact target conservative groups in the heat of last year’s national election is not enough. Today, I call on the White House to conduct a transparent, government-wide review aimed at assuring the American people that these thuggish practices are not underway at the IRS or elsewhere in the administration against anyone, regardless of their political views. Last year, amid reports that the Obama administration was using the levers of executive power to harass conservative political groups in Kentucky and elsewhere, I issued a very public warning to the administration that the targeting of private citizens on the basis of their political views would not be tolerated. Today’s apology by the IRS is proof that those concerns were well founded. But make no mistake, an apology won’t put this issue to rest. Now more than ever we need to send a clear message to the Obama Administration that the First Amendment is non-negotiable, and that apologies after an election year are not an sufficient response to what we now know took place at the IRS. This kind of political thuggery has absolutely no place in our politics.”
Charles Boustany is also vowing that Ways and Means’s oversight subcommittee will launch an “aggressive” investigation. An interesting footnote to all this is that lefty pundits aren’t pushing back. Greg Sargent, Kevin Drum, and Steve Benen were all quick to acknowledge that it’s a legit scandal and should be pursued (in contrast to Benghazi, natch). Former Obama speechwriter Jon Lovett wasn’t spinning either:
— John Tabin (@johntabin) May 10, 2013
Whether that means the usual “Republicans versus Democrats” dynamic during committee hearings won’t apply this time, I don’t know. Friendly advice to O, though: Don’t wait for Issa. Start taking scalps at the IRS now to show that you care, whether you really do or not.