With news of the IRS targeting Tea Party groups evolving everyday, one constant has remained – politics. We have Republicans out there going as far as saying impeachment of President Obama could be a possibility and everyone else trying to make this an anchor on the Oval Office. For example, yesterday Rand Paul said this:
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) claimed Sunday that the Internal Revenue Service had a “written policy” that said agency officials were “targeting people who were opposed to the president.”
“And when that comes forward, we need to know who wrote the policy and who approved the policy,” Paul told CNN.
This is typical Rand Paul. He always makes claims like this to get his base in an uproar, but never produces anything. It really puts that extra sleaze level in politics.
But there is something that exists. Evidence that Republicans knew that the IRS was targeting Tea Party groups as far back as last June has surfaced:
Already, a string of detailed IRS questionnaires to largely conservative groups has stirred complaints among tea party activists and caught the attention of election lawyers. The agency’s “scrutiny is likely a prelude to future IRS investigations into the tax-exempt status of current 501(c)(4) organizations, potentially including major groups supporting President Obama and Republican candidates,” stated a recent memo circulated to clients by the law firm Clark Hill.
That article appeared on Roll Call on June 7, 2012. Of course that doesn’t mean that Republicans noticed, or did they?
Following this revelation, Darrell Issa wrote to the IRS IG asking for more information. That letter was written on June 28, 2012 and can be viewed on the House Oversight Committee’s website here (PDF).
So why all the “scandal” talk now? Why in the world didn’t Republicans raise this concern when it first came to light, last year when it was a presidential election year? If what is happening is illegal, then isn’t Republicans like Issa just as complicit as anyone else?
I’ve been pondering over these questions for awhile now and can come to only one conclusion. Last week, when I first reported on the scandal, I said how the Tea Party is actually helpful to Democrats and hurts Republicans. Just look at the last election results. The Tea Party primaried Republican candidates that were strong hold seats. When the Tea Party candidate won the primary, it resulted in a loss to the Republicans in the general. Why would Democrats want to get rid of such an asset?
Perhaps I’m not the only one thinking that. I already know many pundits and pollsters believe in that theory, but does big name Republicans like Darrell Issa also subscribe to that theory? Well if you consider 11 months of sitting on the knowledge of the targeting and not mentioning it until now, one can only believe so.
I still stand behind my belief that there should be a full investigation. The IRS should never be used for political purposes. But for that investigation to be productive, we need all the facts. That includes when Republicans really first found out about the scandal and why they waited until after the election to raise concerns.
Issa’s job, by the Constitution, is oversight of the federal government. He is there to provide the checks and balances that are vital to any democracy. At the minimum he neglected that duty last summer. At the most, he is also part of the IRS “scandal”, if there really is one.