Obama’s IRS-Gate is a minor distraction in comparison to Bush’s US Department of Justice-Gate.
Remember George Bush’s notorious US Attorney General, Alberto Gonzalez, who politicized the US Attorney General’s Office and fired several US District Attorney’s because they were not “loyal Bushies.”
By comparison, the current IRS-Gate is a minor distraction and, at most, a GOP reframing of an issue that totally misses the point. The issue should be more about why blatantly political organizations have received 501c4 status, when their primary purpose is funneling money to political campaigns rather than promoting “the social welfare.” Not to mention that their big donors may be receiving illegal tax-exemptions for clearly political activities.
Looking back at the degree to which the Bush Administration used government agencies to protect and promote right-wing conservative organizations and punish left-wing liberal organizations, the current admonishments against using government agencies to go after organizations they find disagreeable rings a bit hollow and hypocritical.
For example, the Republican Leader Senator Mitch McConnell’s stated interest in discovering if “there was an effort to bring the power of the federal government to bear on those the administration disagreed with, in the middle of a heated national election. We are determined to get answers and to ensure that this type of intimidation never happens again at the I.R.S. or any other agency.”
House Speaker John Boehner declared, “There are laws in place to prevent this type of abuse. Someone made a conscious decision to harass and to hold up these requests for tax-exempt status,” he said. “I think we need to know who they are [and] whether they violated the law. Clearly someone violated the law.” Adding later, “My question isn’t about who is going to resign. My question is who’s going to jail over this scandal.”
Where were Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, when US District Attorneys during the Bush Administration were being harassed, investigated, and fired for not being loyal enough to the Republican Party?
- Hey, Mitch McConnell. Let me see if I got this right: “When the IRS hassles Tea Party groups, it’s wrong. When they hassle the NAACP and environmental groups, it’s OK” (thedemocraticstrategist.org)
- The I.R.S. and the Tea Party: Where Is the Scandal? (newyorker.com)
- The Real IRS Scandal (newyorker.com)