As alarming new details emerge about the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) targeting of conservative groups and the president’s political opponents, editorial boards across the country are demanding answers from the Obama administration – “and soon.”  On Friday, the House Ways & Means Committee will hold a hearing – streamed online at http://waysandmeans.house.gov/ - to investigate the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups and hold the administration accountable.  The hearing will build on the efforts of the Ways & Means and Oversight & Government Reform Committees, and our members, who insisted on scrutiny and brought these abuses to light.  Here’s a look at the editorials:

  • “Strikes at the Heart of Democracy” “Using a government agency to intimidate and suppress political opponents strikes at the heart of democracy.” (Columbus Dispatch, 5/14/13)
  • “The Administration Should Provide Complete Answers, & Soon” “Any unequal application of the law based on ideological viewpoint is unpardonable — toxic to the legitimacy of the government’s vast law-enforcement authority. … The administration should provide complete answers, and soon.” (The Washington Post, 5/14/13)
  • “‘Outrageous’ Actions Violate Core Principles” “So it’s hardly surprising that disclosures since last Friday, showing that the IRS singled out conservative groups for extra scrutiny as they sought tax-exempt status, ignited an instant firestorm.  Such actions are wrong, chilling and, as President Obama put it Monday, ‘outrageous.’” (USA Today, 5/13/13)
  • “The Obama Administration Owes It [to] All Americans to Release All Pertinent Details” “The Obama administration owes it [to] all Americans to release all pertinent details … Last week’s apology by the IRS was a modest first step, but it’s clear the agency still has some considerable explaining to do — and congressional investigators and others have to push for those answers.” (The Poughkeepsie Journal, 5/14/13)
  • “Taxpayers Shouldn’t Have to Wonder Whether They Are Under the IRS’ Magnifying Glass for Their Beliefs” “What’s needed is a full accounting of the agency’s ideologically driven actions, and then full accountability for them. … Taxpayers shouldn’t have to wonder whether they are under the IRS’ magnifying glass for their beliefs.” (The Wichita Eagle, 5/14/13)
  • “While President Obama Declared Monday that It Would Be ‘Outrageous’ If the IRS Had Engaged in Such a Practice, There’s No If About It” “While President Obama declared Monday that it would be ‘outrageous’ if the IRS had engaged in such a practice, there’s no if about it; an agency official already has apologized for the selective scrutiny.  The congressional committees now planning to hold hearings need to determine how and why it happened. … The Obama administration owes the committees its full cooperation.” (Orlando Sentinel, 5/14/13)
  • “A Frightening Abuse of Power” “When the Internal Revenue Service singles out certain groups for special scrutiny based on their political leanings, right or left, that’s a frightening abuse of power.  Congress has every right, even an obligation, to investigate why that happened at an IRS office in Cincinnati, how far-reaching the abuse was, and who was responsible.” (Chicago Sun-Times, 5/13/13)
  • “An Appalling Example of Governmental Thuggery” “The revelation that IRS workers in Ohio targeted conservatives during the 2012 elections is an appalling example of governmental thuggery.  … We support Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s call on the White House to investigate and hope his request will be echoed from across the aisle.  A government abusing its power should be seen as everyone’s problem — right or left.” (San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/10/13)
  • Republicans “Thoroughly Justified in Seeking a Broader Investigation of this Outrage” “IRS officials admitted the scandalous practice just as an investigation was about to expose them. So don’t presume some sudden attack of guilt or shame prompted Friday’s mea culpa.  Republicans in Congress are thoroughly justified in seeking a broader investigation of this outrage.  If the blood of liberals doesn’t run every bit as cold as that of conservatives at this revelation, they are missing the point.” (Arizona Republic, 5/13/13)
  • “To Single Out an Organization Based on Its Ideological Leanings Is Truly Appalling & Simply Anti-American” “But the latest disclosure — gleaned from a draft inspector general’s report delivered to Congress last week — that tea party groups and others espousing similar ideas had been targeted by some within the U.S. Internal Revenue Service for special scrutiny is outrageous.  For the IRS to single out an organization based on its ideological leanings is truly appalling and simply anti-American.”(The Baltimore Sun, 5/13/13)

As Speaker Boehner has said, “House Republicans have made oversight of federal agencies a top priority on behalf of the American people,” and will continue to do so.