Al Franken is doing his best not to get linked to the expanding IRS scandal. Thus far, it’s worked. However, it’s questionable that that strategy will continue working.
That’s because conservative citizen journalists have started asking questions about the letters he signed onto that encouraged the IRS to target conservative organizations. Here’s how the Right Scoop characterizes Sen. Franken’s reaction to the question:
Jason Mattera catches up with both Al Franken and Chuck Schumer to question them about sending letters to the IRS asking for probes into conservative groups. After almost tripping over his own feet, Franked engaged Mattera about it in the form of a denial, and Schumer just completely ignored him. It’s almost like the questions hit home a little too close.
Here’s what’s at the root of the scandal:
In a different New York Times article in 2012, this struggle between Democrats pressuring the IRS and Republicans concerned about constitutional rights is noted. The article mentions that the IRS sent “dozens of detailed questionnaires to Tea Party organizations applying for nonprofit tax status, demanding to know their political leanings and activities.” The article goes on to point to political motivations on the part of Democrats.
Sen. Franken signed onto a letter that told the IRS to pressure pro-Republican 501(c)(4)’s. That’s an abuse of Sen. Franken’s office. The IRS is likely to act on a letter from a U.S. senator. Using the IRS to audit your political opponents’ allies is a clear violation of their First Amendment rights. It gets worse:
In recent years, the IRS swiftly approved the tax-exempt status of left-leaning organizations, including one of President Obama’s, while taking significantly longer to approve the applications from right-leaning organizations.
Asking the IRS to play political favorites is disgusting. Sen. Franken’s outrage at the IRS would be believable if not for his encouraging the IRS to audit TEA Party, Christian and other conservative organizations.
Sen. Franken can’t tell the IRS to audit conservatives, then pretend to be offended by the IRS auditing conservatives. Sen. Franken can’t tell the IRS to audit conservatives, then tell Minnesotans that he cares about the First Amendment.
It’s time that Sen. Franken told the truth about his telling the IRS to act as a political weapon against his political opponents.