Well the Republicans have a real “scandal” to use to make more excuses to avoid doing their own jobs. The IRS apologized for doing their job when a boatload of political groups tried to gain tax exemptions as charities to keep from having to disclose their donors. I get it, no one likes the tax man so this is an easy “outrage” to get on board. That’s why President Obama is equally “outraged”. I get a chuckle from my conservative friends who think we are entering a period similar to what lead President Nixon to resign in 1974. These fake “outrages” (IRS, Benghazi, and the AP phone records case) are no where near Watergate level. I mean if a President can start an unnecessary war in Iraq with lies and allow the economy to be trashed by the banks, then these current events are nothing in comparison.
Those are just two of the salient points Johnston makes to give the critical context behind this scandal. He also points out that the IRS is tasked with the vague and mushy directive to distinguish between groups are “primarily engaged” in politics versus those that are primarily engaged in “social welfare,” and getting to that distinction is a challenge for an agency deluged by applications post-Citizens United and which has had its budget slashed by 17 percent per capita in the last decade. The agency processed 2,774 501(c)(4) applications in 2012.
The other point he makes, which we’re not hearing frequently or loudly enough in the response to the kerfuffle, is a real scandal: “the social welfare tax exemption is being used by existing 501(c)(4) organizations, including some very large ones, to promote partisan political interests—the very activity Congress has explicitly prohibited for a century.” In other words, Karl Rove and Crossroads.
Republican lawmakers are very busy trying to bully the IRS into not looking into whether tea party groups are actively trying to influence elections. Also, Benghazi! And Republicans are very busy embracing a short-lived love for first amendment rights. Have no fear, they are still too busy to get any actual work done. But they do have that 37th vote on ObamaCare because they are the party of anti-discipline and fiscal recklessness.
So where were the Republicans when President George W. Bush started the Iraq war based lies and allowed his banking buddies to crash the economy and get bailed out?
So what did President Nixon do?
Here is his Articles of Impeachment from July of 1974
On June 17, 1972, and prior thereto, agents of the Committee for the Re-election of the President committed unlawful entry of the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in Washington, District of Columbia, for the purpose of securing political intelligence. Subsequent thereto, Richard M. Nixon, using the powers of his high office, engaged personally and through his close subordinates and agents, in a course of conduct or plan designed to delay, impede, and obstruct the investigation of such illegal entry; to cover up, conceal and protect those responsible; and to conceal the existence and scope of other unlawful covert activities.
Using the powers of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in disregard of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has repeatedly engaged in conduct violating the constitutional rights of citizens, impairing the due and proper administration of justice and the conduct of lawful inquiries, or contravening the laws governing agencies of the executive branch and the purposed of these agencies.
In his conduct of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, contrary to his oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has failed without lawful cause or excuse to produce papers and things as directed by duly authorized subpoenas issued by the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives on April 11, 1974, May 15, 1974, May 30, 1974, and June 24, 1974, and willfully disobeyed such subpoenas. The subpoenaed papers and things were deemed necessary by the Committee in order to resolve by direct evidence fundamental, factual questions relating to Presidential direction, knowledge or approval of actions demonstrated by other evidence to be substantial grounds for impeachment of the President. In refusing to produce these papers and things Richard M. Nixon, substituting his judgment as to what materials were necessary for the inquiry, interposed the powers of the Presidency against the lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives, thereby assuming to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the sole power of impeachment vested by the Constitution in the House of Representatives.
In the current IRS case, no groups targeted were prevented from gaining tax exemption. Most just updated their application and resubmitted. The IRS looked at tea party and liberal group’s applications like it is suppose to do. And so far the administration has cooperated with Congress in investigating the issue and the President even fired the executive director who really had nothing to do with the case other being the boss.
If the Republicans can prove there is obstruction of justice then maybe we are looking at a light version of Watergate but again if a President can start a war with lies and not be punished then Republicans have no right to be “outraged” when a Federal agency does it job – unlike the Republicans.