White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer did a tour of the sunday shows to try and calm everyone down about this whole IRS targeting Tea Party groups scandal. He was the one tasked with assuring the masses that the White House knew nothing, that things will change in the future, and that heads will roll. On Fox News Sunday, Pfeiffer promised the administration would make sure "everyone who did anything wrong here is held accountable" before the dust settles. The IRS's next goal is to "fix the problem, make sure it never happens again and restore the public trust," Pfeiffer said. On CBS's Face the Nation, Pfeiffer defended the President's relative naiveté about the scandal. "What would be an actual real scandal in Washington would be if the president had been involved or had interfered in an IRS investigation," Pfeiffer said. "You do nothing to interfere with an independent investigation and you do nothing to offer the appearance of interfering with investigations," he added. Only the administration did learn the facts, only then did they decide to respond. On ABC's This Week, Pfeiffer said the law was "irrelevant" to the fact that the activity was "outrageous and inexcusable." He explained: "What I mean is, whether it’s legal or illegal is not important to the fact that the conduct doesn’t matter. The Department of Justice has said they’re looking into the legality of this. The president is not going to wait for that. We have to make sure it doesn’t happen again, regardless of how that turns out." On NBC's Meet the Press, Pfeiffer finally went on the offensive and attacked Republicans for trying to make the IRS scandal into the biggest deal possible. He acknowledged the scandal as a "very real problem at the IRS," before launching into a scathing bit about Republican strategy. "We’ve seen this playbook from the Republicans before," Pfeiffer said. "What they want to do when they’re lacking a positive agenda is try to drag Washington into a swamp of partisan fishing expeditions, trumped-up hearings and false allegations. We’re not going to let that happen. The president’s got business to do for the American people."
Meanwhile, Rep. Paul Ryan was promising to continue the crusade against the IRS on Fox News Sunday. "Look, people have no trust that their government is being impartial," the Wisconsinite told Chris Matthews. "This is arrogance of power, abuse of power, to the nth degree, and we're going to get to the bottom of this." Ryan argued there was "credible evidence that donors were targeted, that the IRS leaked private information to the public, which served political purposes." There's something nefarious afoot at the IRS, Ryan thinks, and it all roads lead to Obamacare. Becasue, wait, what? "So there's so much more that we have just uncovered that we do not know the root causes of. And so to suggest that this is some bureaucratic snafu, that's been disproven, Chris," Ryan said. "The other point I'd say, as bad as this is, the person in charge of this bureaucratic snafu has now been put in charge of Obamacare." The former head of the tax exempt division, Sarah Hall Ingram, is now moving to head the IRS's implementation of Obamacare. This is "rotten to the core," according to Ryan. "This is big government cronyism," he argues. "And this is not what hard-working taxpayers deserve. People deserve a government they can trust, that's honest, that's impartial, equality before the law, and that is not what we're getting here. And so to try to suggest that this is just bureaucratic snafus, we already know that's not true.”
Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn accused the Obama White House of practicing a "culture of cover-ups," on CBS's Face the Nation. He inquired in 2010 and 2011 for his constituents about whether or not they were being unfairly targeted. If the President somehow didn't know about the IRS overreach, it was "willful ignorance," Cornyn said. He said he wants to hold more hearings about the IRS scandal in the future. "We need to have a fair and respectful process and not put the cart before the horse," he said.
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told Meet the Press's David Gregory there is "a culture of intimidation throughout the administration." He called the IRS "the most recent example." It's all part of an overall "nanny state" being run by the White House, he said. There's "an attitude that the government knows best: The nanny state is here to tell us all what to do. And if we start criticizing, you get targeted." McConnell signaled there could be more hearings on the way, too, when he claimed the investigation was just beginning. "I don't think we know what the facts are," he said. "... I'm not going to reach a conclusion about what we may find. But what we do know happened is they were targeting tea party groups. We know that."
On the other scandal front, Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz wants even more documents about Benghazi from the White House. This guy makes Lindsey Graham look modest. "People deserve the truth and the families deserve the truth," Chaffetz said on Face the Nation. "I can't imagine that this administration would say those same things about what happened in Boston where we had four people killed by a terrorist." (Yes, that comment is as head scratching as it looks. Chaffetz blamed a cover up for keeping the answers from the American people. "We weren't able to investigate," he said. "We still have terrorists that committed these attacks that are out there. They are on the loose. We don't know where they are."
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said Hillary Clinton should have resigned as Secretary of State over what happened in Benghazi on CNN's State of the Union. "[Clinton] should have resigned and accepted blame for it," Paul said. He explained that he's not so worried about the Benghazi talking points anymore, but that the outpost wasn't given more security. That was a "tragic mistake," he said. "We need to treat it more like Baghdad, that's an error of judgment the president and secretary of state made," Paul said.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.