Cruz: Senate Dems 'complicit' in IRS scandal

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Thursday argued Democrats would be outraged over the Internal Revenue Service targeting scandal if it were a Republican administration. 

"Let me note with sadness that the Democratic members of this chamber seem to have no concern about a senior IRS official pleading the Fifth repeatedly because truthfully answering the questions could implicate her in criminal conduct," Cruz said on the Senate floor.

"I would ask every Democratic member of this body: How comfortable are you with the precedent that the IRS can single out Democratic senators who might disagree with the president's political position?" Cruz said, referring to the recent discovery that former IRS official Lois Lerner sought an audit of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) over an invitation to a nonprofit group.

"How is it not a single Democratic senator has the courage to speak up?" Cruz said. "Any one of us who remains silent is complicit in undermining the Constitution."

Cruz also accused the media of covering the story with a liberal bias.

"If this were a Republican administration, every media outlet would have banner headlines every single day," Cruz said.

Cruz pledged that if the tables were turned, "at least some" Senate Republicans would be equally outraged if it were a Republican administration.

"I can assure you that at least some Republican senators would be doing exactly the same, standing up and saying this abuse of power is wrong," Cruz said.

Cruz then tried to pass a resolution that would call on the Justice Department to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS. But Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) objected, saying that another probe would be superfluous.

"As the chairman of the Finance Committee that oversees the IRS, I have to question whether bringing in a special prosecutor would be a good use of taxpayer money in this case," Wyden said, noting that four different congressional committees are investigating the issue. "There is nothing of value a special prosecutor would bring to the table."

Wyden disagreed with Cruz's notion that Democrats would respond differently if it were a Republican administration.

"I want every senator to understand this: Senator Hatch and I would be doing exactly what we are doing now with the same diligence if it was a Republican administration," Wyden said of himself and the Senate Finance Committee ranking member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).   

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