Woodward on IRS: More answers needed
June 4th, 2013
09:10 AM ET
11 months ago

Woodward on IRS: More answers needed

(CNN) - The man who helped uncover Watergate says the Internal Revenue Service controversy doesn't rise to the same level of the Nixon scandal–but could be on its way.

Longtime Washington Post reporter and editor said he suspects the White House had a deeper knowledge of the IRS' targeting of conservative groups than officials are letting on. The public, he added, needs more answers.

"This is not Watergate at all, but the road to Watergate is concealment, is not coming clean and just say 'Oh well we won’t have to release that memo. We won’t have to let so and so testify. Let’s call executive privilege. Let’s stonewall'," he said Monday night. "And if they do that, they will dig themselves in a hole."

President Barack Obama sharply condemned the IRS for mishandling tax-exempt applications from groups with the names "tea party" and "patriot." Last month, he announced that his administration requested and accepted the resignation of then-acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller over the issue.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has repeatedly denied that the White House had a role in the matter, pointing to the audit by the Treasury Department's inspector general for tax administration, which found the problem originated in the Cincinnati IRS office that handles tax-exempt applications.

Carney argues the IRS is an independent agency with only two political appointees, but Woodward said such an argument is "fiction" and "absurd."

"Clearly in the pipeline, lots of people knew some of this or should know it," he said on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor.” "And I agree, this needs to be investigated, but you know who should lead the investigation? President Obama."

A recent Quinnipiac University poll indicates that a plurality of respondents–45%– believe the IRS targeting of conservative groups was a decision made by civil service employees, while 35% believes it came from the Obama administration. Seventy-six percent said a special prosecutor should be appointed to investigate the issue.

But an overwhelming number–73%–said the economy should be a higher priority over investigating the controversies.

A number of conservative and tea party groups will appear Tuesday before a congressional committee to give their side of the story.

Woodward pressed the Washington press corps to keep asking questions about the issue, saying people did not believe at first what he and Carl Bernstein wrote on the Nixon scandal "for a long time."

The Obama administration, he added, isn't "yet in the bunker...the answers are forthcoming" and he believes they have "moral and intellectual capacity" to fill in the holes in the IRS controversy.

"Much hangs in the balance here, not just the reputation of the news media for aggressiveness and some form of neutrality, but the whole relationship that the White House and the government has with the public about trust," he said.


Filed under: Bob Woodward • IRS
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    Why don't you follow romney and go away, your time has passed ,moron!!!!

    June 4, 2013 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    The IG said the White House was unaware. What else needs to be said? Mr. Woodard may be a respected journalist, but frankly he can keep his opinion to himself.

    June 4, 2013 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  3. Jinx9to88

    I dont see what the big deal is here!!! This is a joke all the groups that were targeted got their deduction. GOP targeted liberal/progressive groups under Bush but no one cared then. These GOP scrubs of late is a joke to America!!!!

    June 4, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  4. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Woodward pressed the Washington press corps to keep asking questions about the issue, saying people did not believe at first what he and Carl Bernstein wrote on the Nixon scandal "for a long time."

    I don't know. Based on cable news ratings to date, I just don't think allowing the media to run with a witch-hunt is all that beneficial. The time is long past for this to have been a serious story. Issa and company turned it into a circus and lost whatever credibility he had. Adding the media into the fray with their he said/he said narrative doesn't help. At this point, everyone inside the beltway is trying to justify the witch-hunt and in the process is fast losing trust. Continuing to sling mud probably won't help at this late date because there is no "story" of presidential criminal behavior to begin with.

    June 4, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  5. Pete

    Woodward quit your conspiracy theories.Where were you when Nixon was contemplating assasinating Ted Kennedy if he ran against him for the presidency because Nixon knew he was toast if Kennedy did!!Where were you with your supposid theories about Pres.Clinton giving Bushs administration Intel on terrorists targets stateside before leaving office and after 9/11 Bush looked like a deer in the headlights after NY being struck ,nothing there ha Woodward..All you are is a republican sleeze ball that rears his ugly head up every four years like a locust when his finances seem to run down and he sees an opportunity to score on again a theory nothing concrete much like Issas been doing with his political witch hunts now hoping to find someone to publicly chastise when its he the supposid California car thief that should watch his tail as well!Remember karma Woodward,Issa you sow what you reap and the old saying what goes around comes around goes for in politics as it does in life and it could get nasty for both of you as well!!

    June 4, 2013 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  6. leah

    Could Bob Woodward get any more obvious these days....The guy has GOT to be taking home big bucks as a far right propaganda pusher.

    June 4, 2013 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  7. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Bob Woodward earned his reputation 40 years ago with the Watergate Scandal. Unfortunately, since then he has made it his mission to make sure every subsequent Administration has some scandal that keeps his name in the news. He has become his own story.

    June 4, 2013 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  8. Mel

    The man has a point. More investigations need to be done. But here's the rub. Where were the great sleuth's of investigative journalism, when the American people were being lied to about weapons of mass destruction? Where were all of the great minds hiding, when a knuckle dragging president made a photo opp landing on a carrier, declaring mission accomplished to the American people? Where were all of the self accredited financial reporters, when a company called Enron, was bilking all of the people, including employees, out of every dime they could bilk? Remember these little distractions, that almost crumbled the economy? And all the time president (nose knuckle), was calling the head of Enron "Kenny Boy". Apparently many of the people walking around today have extremely short term memory.

    June 4, 2013 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  9. Joi Gibson

    He "suspects"? Is that anything like Issa's "gut feeling"? Since when does that pass for evidence! There has been no evidence that President Obama had anything to do with this foolishness so stop saying things that imply he does. Until there is proof positive, please shut your pie hole. Is it any wonder most folks do not hold the press in high esteem. Sorry to say it Bob, but you are past your prime – unless you have proof positive evidence you really should not be speculating – and on Faux News of all places – that is a real disservice to the public.

    June 4, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  10. Richard Long

    If the Obama Administration has done nothing wrong, then why are there investigators crawling all over the place?
    It's a witch-hunt!!! They why not release all the records and prove that no wrongdoing was done? Because they can't!

    June 4, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  11. Ron L

    BLAH, BLAH, BALH, BLAH, an answer will be found and hopefully things will be corrected. BUT, lets stop talking about this and start talking about JOBS, JOBS, JOBS, especially in the area of infrastructure!! Americans need to quit being distracted by this stuff and focus on the fact the Senate has a budget proposal, the House has a Budget Proposal, the President has a Budget proposal and everyone in the MEDIA is focused on the scandels that will impact 10% of American while the resolving of the budgets will effect us ALL. It is SAD, it is STUPID, it is COUNTERPRODUCTIVE, America we need to WAKE UP and demand more.

    June 4, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  12. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Woodward. A ??? that sold his soul for a cheap news story. Woodward is one to talk. True the Obama Adminstration don't know which way is up so Woodward is in good company. Maybe Woodward as well as the whole sorry bunch at the Washington Daily Worker can buy back their souls but I doubt it. We already know the ansewrs. The only question is will the inmates continue the "Asylum" or vote it out next election.

    June 4, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  13. The NRA is a T e r r o r i st organisation....and MORE JOBS has been created under President Obama 2times over than under GW Bush!!! ***FACT***

    This is the SAME Bob Woodward who LIED on CNN that he was threatened by the White House only for him to recant his false-outrage story when the WH posted the email conversation they had with him....and you call Bob Woodward a journalist?!!!

    What of a bunch of Balorney Malarkey!!!!!...This idiot should park several seats behind the wannabe FAUX NEWS talking heads!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 4, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  14. Borderless

    Hopelessly devoted Obamakins, who up until the election last November gave Obama a great big "mission accomplished" on jobs and the economy, are now saying we need to work on jobs and the economy rather than allow anyone to question the highly questionable integrity of this corrupt administration. Let us be clear. Jobs and the economy are not Obama's priority. All he is focused on is winning a power struggle between Democrats and Republicans. He uses the Department of Justice to spy on citizens through Google. He uses the Department of Justice to spy on and intimidate the press. He has drones executing American citizens abroad. He uses the IRS to intimidate his political enemies. His appointees use secret email accounts to hide their activities. When his corrupt activities are discovered, he makes sure to insulate the higher ups and places blame on low level employees. This man is a tyrant. The press has an obligation to hold him accountable.

    June 4, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  15. jboh

    You want a conspiracy theory? "W" appointee was head of IRS when videos, and trips were made, and Ms. 5th was also a "W" appointee. Why is this fact left out of the news coverage? Must be the TEA/GOP media spinning for their own, biased purposes.

    June 4, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  16. Rick McDaniel

    There is far too much secrecy, manipulation, and skullduggery, in this administration.

    Woodward recognizes that fact.

    June 4, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  17. joyce

    He doesn't always know as much as he thinks he does.

    June 4, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  18. Caumont

    Obama should investigate. Are you kidding? I guess Nixon should have investigated himself. I don't think so. Woodward is playing both sides of the fence as usual. The major difference is back in the Nixon era the press pursued the Nixon scandals with vigor and stood behind Woodward. Sadly now most of the press is an arm of the White House actively working to discredit anyone who dares to challenge this administration.

    June 4, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  19. Dan5404

    Bob Woodward's objectivity has clearly moved to the right. Have you noticed his fairly regular appearances on FOX (News?). Anyone with negatives about Obama may be a potential hire on the propaganda network.

    June 4, 2013 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  20. truth hurts but reality bites

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes
    The IG said the White House was unaware. What else needs to be said?
    --

    Not true. As a matter of fact, the IG said he could not get any of the people he interviewed to tell him where these instructions or orders came from. Nobody would name names. Maybe it was because of his faulty investigative technique of having a person's manager in the room with them when the IG interviewed them? But one thing is for sure, this ws definitely not two rogue IRS employees in the Cinci office, which is what Obama and his paid liars have been trying to sell.

    June 4, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  21. Sniffit

    "Bob Woodward's objectivity has clearly moved to the right. Have you noticed his fairly regular appearances on FOX (News?)."

    He's more of a "partisan analyst" than a "journalist" at this point. I think Woodward harbors some of the deep-seeded, shall we say "resentments", that drove the GOP/Teatroll clown car off the ideological cliff in response to a black man being elected POTUS.

    June 4, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  22. rs

    There is far too much secrecy, manipulation, and skullduggery, in this administration.
    _________________________
    Ha, unlike the "transparency" of the Right whose sole objective is to keep manufacturing these phony controversies, and holding witch-hunt hearings in Congress (lead by one expert in car theft and insurance fraud)- instead of say, working on jobs bills, or immigration reform, or in fact doing anything that actually benefits the American people they are suppossed to represent. Doing their party's bidding (just as in the Watergate era), IS NOT working for America, and the GOP needs to heed the warning- the voting population does not feel these "scandals" or "investigations" actually mean anything.

    June 4, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  23. just sayin

    obama adminstration strategy: lie, deny, delay, deflect, stonewall, dodge, name call, attack, claim executive privilege, concoct fantasies.

    4.5 years and counting. they simply refuse to tell the american people the truth about anything.

    June 4, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  24. rs

    If the Obama Administration has done nothing wrong, then why are there investigators crawling all over the place?
    It's a witch-hunt!!! They why not release all the records and prove that no wrongdoing was done? Because they can't!
    ______________________________________
    Logically, the WH, or the IRS cannot provide evidence proving there was no conspiracy, when in fact there was no conspiracy. The GOP has made this one up- probably starting with a coordinated action to flood the IRS with more than 3,000 501 (c) 4 applications by their (then) newly manufactured "grass roots" TEA (Taxed Enough Already), Grover Norquist approved groups which essentially forced the IRS to come up with a way to deal with the sudden influx of applications- especially so many questionable ones.

    June 4, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  25. Donna

    Sniffit
    "Bob Woodward's objectivity has clearly moved to the right. Have you noticed his fairly regular appearances on FOX (News?)."
    He's more of a "partisan analyst" than a "journalist" at this point. I think Woodward harbors some of the deep-seeded, shall we say "resentments", that drove the GOP/Teatroll clown car off the ideological cliff in response to a black man being elected POTUS.
    ---

    You gotta love how the Obama supporters play the race card when they have run out of any legitimate defense for their proven failure and liar. All Woodward was saying is that the Obama administration needs to come clean and start telling all it knows, tell the TRUTH. And for that you label him a racist? Unbelieveable. You have gone off the deep end for sure.

    June 4, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
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