McConnell: We’ve ‘only started to scratch the surface’ of IRS scandal

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday said he feared the scandal over the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative political groups was wider than suspected and demanded President Obama give Congress full access to every official involved.

Congress had “only started to scratch the surface of this scandal,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.

ADVERTISEMENT
"This morning I'm calling on the President to make available, completely and without restriction, everyone, everyone who can answer to the questions we have as to what's been going on at the IRS, who knew about it, and how high it went," McConnell continued.

"No stonewalling, no more incomplete answers, no more misleading responses, no holding back witnesses, no matter how senior their current or former positions," he said. "We need full transparency, and we need full cooperation.

"The American people deserve answers," said McConnell.

Last week, the IRS admitted that officials in Ohio had targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, with higher scrutiny. Many groups were singled out for having the words "Tea Party" or "patriot" in their name.


The IRS said the bias was limited to an office in Cincinnati, but reports Tuesday claimed officials in Washington, D.C., and California also targeted Tea Party groups. Press reports also said the IRS leaked confidential information about these groups last year.

Both the White House and lawmakers quickly condemned the IRS actions, with Obama calling them “outrageous” and vowing to find those responsible.

But many GOP lawmakers have questioned the ability of the administration to fairly investigate the IRS, with House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on Tuesday insisting on an “open and transparent” investigation.

The House Ways and Means Committee also scheduled a hearing on Friday to look into the issue.

McConnell complained that he and other Senate Republicans were asking questions about possible IRS bias for the last few years, but that the IRS rejected these claims.

"None of this would have come out if we had relied on the administration's own word and Republicans hadn't demanded to know the truth," he said.

McConnell also argued that Democrats are partly to blame for the scandal, as they pushed the IRS to audit these conservative groups.

"Our Democratic friends should also acknowledge their role in inculcating this culture of intimidation, due to repeated calls for increased … IRS scrutiny of groups like the very ones that ended up being targeted," he said.