Archived Story

Gang that couldn’t shoot straight

Published 10:20am Friday, May 24, 2013

Usually, if you hand a political party a ready-made scandal, they are at least able to run with it and turn it to their advantage.

But for the Republicans, not so much.

Finally, in the fifth year of the Obama presidency, the actions of the IRS in treating conservative political action groups differently than others brings to light actions that all Americans reject from an agency that needs to have a sterling reputation.

The tax exempt group at the IRS, according to an internal Inspector General’s report, systemically treated groups applying for 501c4 status (tax exempt for reasons of public welfare purpose) less favorably if the applying group identified themselves with names like “tea party.”

While there is no evidence that any of the groups so identified were refused the tax exempt status, the groups often faced more detailed, intrusive questions about the nature of their function, and, on occasion, were asked entirely inappropriate questions about their memberships.

The actions continued for a period thought to be nearly two years, and during that time various IRS officials were informed of the charges against the tax exempt group internally, and that there was an internal investigation underway.

All of this leads to several valid questions, the first of which is “who authorized this?”

The American people also deserve to know just who at the IRS knew about this and what actions they took or failed to take.

Further, the investigation, now undertaken by the FBI to find answers and determine if laws were broken, needs to exonerate or identify any political influence brought to bear.

Given all of the above, who better to direct the Congressional response to this very serious matter than elected Republicans?

Unfortunately, before the ink was dry on the IG’s report, Republicans were busy blowing their cover as objective inquirers seeking the facts. Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader, headed straight to the political talk shows to claim the IRS scandal was simply a reflection of the Obama administrations’ “culture of intimidation.”

When challenged to provide facts to support his claim on Meet the Press McConnell replied that the facts were unknown.

Perfect.

First claim the administration is involved, then admit that you have absolutely no evidence to support the claim.

Follow that with a NYT editorial repeating the claim and again offering no evidence.

Nothing quite like taking a perfectly good scandal and immediately overreaching to show your partisanship is more important than getting at the facts.

But Republicans have a history of overreaching during the Obama years. First came the Birthers and silence by Republicans who knew better. Then came Fast and Furious, Republicans who opposed all gun regulation simply amazed that guns fell into the hands of Mexican criminals in a state where there are more gun dealers than fast food restaurants.

That was followed by Benghazi, the only scandal ever owned by a TV network, where Fox has been all Benghazi all the time for months. Interested in the recent upticks in the economy? Not on Fox, no time with Benghazi all day long. But again, it was overreach; Americans simply do not care about the wording on a public statement.

And lastly, the uncomfortable, but legal Justice Department investigation that resulted in collecting telephone records from Associated Press reporters is not really a scandal at all, just an important question about the balance of security and protection of a free press.

Leave it to the Republicans to find a way, in just a few short days, to undermine their own creditability in yet another “We hate Obama” rant when serious issues are at hand.

 

Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.

 

The Tribune believes it is possible for people with a variety of points of view to discuss issues in a civil manner and will remove comments that, in our opinion, foster incivility. We want to encourage an open exchange of information and ideas. Responsibility for what is posted or contributed to this site is the sole responsibility of each user. By contributing to this website, you agree not to post any defamatory, abusive, harassing, obscene, sexual, threatening or illegal material, or any other material that infringes on the ability of others to enjoy this site, or that infringes on the rights of others. Any user who feels that a contribution to this website is a violation of these terms of use is encouraged to email report-comments@irontontribune.com, or click the "report comment" link that is on all comments. We reserve the right to remove messages that violate these terms of use and we will make every effort to do so — within a reasonable time frame — if we determine that removal is necessary.

  • mickakers

    BILLCO; My compliments on your heartfelt comment. I can well understand your frustration. However, your comment “I think its high time we get rid of the whole bunch.”, is a bit extreme. There are members of Congress who are conscientious and working for the betterment of all of us, even the unborn, Democrats and Republicans. I feel the primary culprits are the Lobbyists, taking undue advantage of the weakness’s in human nature and influencing our voting representatives.

    (Report comment)

  • BILLCO

    I don’t think there is a two party system anymore, its a gang of thieves that on the outside pretend to be for the people, but behind the closed doors, they plot together too get done what they want done. You can bet your last dollar that they are not there for (we the people) anymore. obama is getting the most of the blame right now and i think he deserves it, but out of site of the people, the rep party is right behind him and all the rest. when crawford called them a gang, I think he hit right on target. I think its high time we get rid of the whole bunch.

    (Report comment)

  • keta

    GREAT article. It reminded me of a T-shirt I saw this week: “I think, therefore I am….not Glenn Beck”. The trouble with a leaderless party is that anybody can act as the leader, and there’s nobody with the authority to corral the crazies and explain that, at some point, it would be nice to win a national election.

    (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    Good Evening 79Tiger; Hope you have a great Memorial Day weekend. Wished I was there to see the parade.

    (Report comment)

  • http://www.tytandan.com 79Tiger

    What? No PSS on “drop the “d” on my previous comment?”

    (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    drop the “d” on my previous comment.

    (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    Jim Crawford; As a PS: I liked the title to your article “Gang that couldn’t shoot straight”. Very appropriated.

    (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    Jim Crawford; Another well-balanced and thought out article. Your sense of humor is demonstrated by your comment “Given all the above, who better to direct the Congressional response to this very serious matter than elected Republicans?” LOVED IT!!! Your comment in regard to Republicans overreaching during the Obama years is on the money. But come on Jim, be a bit more honest (you don’t have to be diplomatic all the time), the Grand Old Party has always overreached when it comes to care and concern for the more affluent members of our society. They’re lack of care and concern for the middle-class and lower has been rather obvious thru the years, this is not an opinion but fact.

    (Report comment)

    • mikehaney

      Fact. Republican party is PRO-LIFE.
      Fact. Obama,Democrats,Unions are PRO-Abortion.

      (Report comment)

  • http://www.tytandan.com 79Tiger

    Crawford could not be more partisan to the Democrat Party and the tyrannical federal government. You know Jim, your free speech and privacy is at stake too. You just trust your government to much to believe it.

    (Report comment)

  • mikehaney

    Nope;it’s the whole country going to pot. Literally.
    ————————————-
    Many of the Americans who recognize our moral problems are also the quickest to justify them. As a country, we have a higher tolerance than ever for divorce (68% believe it’s morally acceptable), premarital sex (63%), out-of-wedlock births (60%), and homosexual behavior (59%). On two explosive issues–human cloning and polygamy–the public’s support has actually doubled. Believe it or not, more Americans now have a problem with “wearing fur” (59%) than aborting a human life (42%). Only adultery lost ground in the battle over values–falling just a single point, from 7% approval to 6%.

    (Report comment)

Editor's Picks

Bicentennial committee seeks nonprofit status

As soon as the county’s bicentennial committee gets an OK on becoming a non-profit organization, it will gear up its fundraising campaign to recreate the ... Read more