May 14th, 2013
05:54 PM ET
9 years ago

First on CNN: GOP going after Dems in ads over IRS scandal

Washington (CNN) – As the Obama administration takes heat for the recent Internal Revenue Service controversy, the House Republican campaign arm is making sure some Democrats in Congress face pressure, as well.

The National Republican Congressional Committee is rolling out a slew of web ads, calling on House Democrats to condemn the IRS' targeting of conservative groups that filed for tax-exempt status in the last few years. However, a number of the targeted Democrats have issued such statements.

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"The IRS has clearly overstepped their boundaries, and it's time for these House Democrats to denounce their behavior and call for action," NRCC communications director Andrea Bozek said in a statement. "These Members know better than to allow this type of constitutional affront to occur, and their silence is offensive to their constituencies and to endless groups across the country."

In addition to over-scrutinizing applications from conservative groups, the IRS deliberately delayed processing those applications and requested unnecessary information, according to a copy of a report by the agency's inspector general obtained Tuesday by CNN from a congressional source.

Democrats need to gain 17 seats in 2014 in order to retake control of the House. The IRS story, as well as simmering headlines over the U.S. diplomatic post attack in Benghazi and the Justice Department's monitoring of AP reporters' phone calls, are all firing up the GOP base a year and a half before the mid-term elections.

The NRCC web ads target 11 Democrats that represent competitive Democratic districts.

"IRS caught using politics to target Americans," one of the ads reads. "Tell Nick Rahall to speak up." Readers can click on a link that takes them to a fundraising page for the NRCC.

nrcc web ad

Rahall, however, did speak up Tuesday in a statement after the Justice Department announced it was launching a criminal probe of the issue. While he approved the move, he said it wasn't "enough."

"Congress has a responsibility to serve as a check on the Executive Branch and must ensure that any abuses of the public trust receive open scrutiny," he said. "I urge the Administration to cooperate fully as Congressional hearings get underway. Law and tax enforcement must be above reproach and beyond partisan accusations. If violations of the law occurred, the appropriate officials must be held accountable."

Another one of the targeted Democrats, Rep. Scott Peters of California, also fired off a statement Tuesday.

"If these reports are true, the actions are outrageous, unacceptable, and completely inconsistent with the high standards of fairness Americans deserve from their government," he said.

Reps. Joe Garcia of Florida, Dave Loebsack of Iowa, and Mike McIntyre of North Carolina also weighed in, blasting the IRS through statements or comments in the media.

Republicans aren't the only ones blasting the IRS for their review of conservative groups. Rep. Sander Levin, ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said Tuesday in an interview with CNN that the incident "should never have happened."

"(The IRS) made serious mistakes. They should have let us know what was going on," the Democrat said. Levin, along with committee chairman Dave Camp, scheduled a hearing for Friday, and they're both calling for further investigation into the matter.

Democratic Sens. Max Baucus and Carl Levin, along with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, have also criticized the IRS and vowed to investigate the issue. And President Barack Obama also condemned the actions taken by IRS employees.

"If in fact IRS personnel engaged in the kind of practices that have been reported on and were intentionally targeting conservative groups, then that's outrageous. And there's no place for it," Obama said Monday.

Those on the list of targeted Democrats in the web ads also include: Elizabeth Esty of Connecticut, Bill Enyart of Illinois, Tim Walz of Minnesota, Collin Peterson of Minnesota, Rick Nolan of Minnesota, and Pete Gallego of Texas.

Filed under: IRS • NRCC
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Wake up People!

    Really? Who would have thunk it??

    Next up....
    Republicans go after Obama for making too much noise while taking a cr@p.

    What a bunch of traitors. Not one TP application was turned down. Straight BS. Carry on GOP, this is all you have left. My bad, this, cheating and gerrymandering.

    May 14, 2013 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  2. Daniel Martin

    Thw Republicans have no justification for posting ads against Democrats considering their sordid past, from Nixon thru GW.

    May 14, 2013 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  3. Data Driven

    Well, it's all a bunch of squawking until someone can produce the name of the person(s) who gave the order to do this.

    Meanwhile, the larger question remains unanswered: why are political groups receiving tax-exempt in the first place? Here's a fine opportunity to change some laws, but I doubt anyone is interested.

    May 14, 2013 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  4. DumbasRocks [R]s

    Hey break a leg least this is a distraction from your constant and ongoing FAILURE to provide ANYTHING positive to this country over the last 20 years!

    Here's a bottom line: political groups do NOT qualify for tax deductions. And just what are all the Teatard groups about??.....politics, you say???? Well then, just why wouldn't the IRS investigate the qualifications of these groups?????

    You're damn right they should have been investigated by the IRS for proper qualification as "tax exempt".

    Kudos to the IRS.

    May 14, 2013 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  5. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Yep. A George Bush appointee going after conservatives. Must be politically motivated.

    May 14, 2013 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  6. Catmandew

    The Dems won't say anything it was to their benefit to help eliminate their competition. Their fearless leader doesn't even seem to know the IRS is part of his branch of government. It is misuse of power at its worst and Obama should be fired for letting it occur. The IRS has already admitted to it so I don't see how Obama can say if its true something will be done about it!

    May 14, 2013 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  7. Safejourney

    All you have to do is know what a 501c3 is and you will know why these "tea party groups" applied for them and why they were asked additional questions by the IRS

    May 14, 2013 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  8. RINO Bill

    So conservatives are saying the IRS has no right to check on organizations seeking tax-exempt status?

    May 14, 2013 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  9. DENNA

    Wait, didn't the GOP do the same during the 60s, seeking out radicals and those "unfriendly" to the government, i.e., those who would not drink the GOP swill water? Me thinks the GOP doth protest too much.

    May 14, 2013 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  10. Evergreen

    Sounds like someone took a page from the Bush playbook. Recall when the last adminstration used the Justice Dept. To target certain groups and attorneys.

    May 15, 2013 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  11. Marie MD

    When the shoe is on the other foot it hurts, right rethugs?
    Where's the outrage against everything against anybody "not you"?
    The tea trolls are considered by many people I know as traitors. Look at their leaders!

    May 15, 2013 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  12. GI Joe

    Maybe we need lawyers in the IRS, but other than that - this is nothing compared to what went on in this country before 24/7 "news" having to be filled.

    May 15, 2013 06:41 am at 6:41 am |