Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats make final plea for voting rights ahead of filibuster showdown Mellman: Voting rights or the filibuster? Budowsky: To Dems: Run against the do-nothing GOP, Senate MORE (R-Ky.) on Wednesday slammed the Obama administration in the wake of a congressional report that found that the IRS mismanaged applications from Tea Party groups.
“The report makes clear that civic groups were harassed specifically because they identified as conservative. It underlines the seething contempt partisan officials like Lois Lerner had for them,” the Republican leader said in a statement on Wednesday evening. “It also reveals that Administration officials continually misled Congress and attempted to hide evidence that might have brought the truth to light sooner.”
McConnell’s remarks follow the long-awaited report from the Senate Finance Committee on whether the IRS targeted conservative groups because of their political leanings and whether the White House was involved.
The Kentucky Republican added that “the Nixonian harassment of Americans with the gall to think differently than the President was outrageous enough when it first came to light. It's even more outrageous today.”
But the results of the investigation appeared to split senators, including Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchMeet Washington's most ineffective senator: Joe Manchin Lobbying world Congress, stop holding 'Dreamers' hostage MORE (R-Utah) and Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenSanders, 50 Democrats unveil bill to send N95 masks to all Americans Manchin told White House he would back version of billionaire tax: report Democrats look to scale back Biden bill to get it passed MORE (D-Ore.), the committee’s ranking member.
Hatch said on the Senate floor that “regardless of whether an explicit directive was given, the president gave the order to target conservative groups at every opportunity,” and that the report “contains clear evidence that IRS and other agencies heeded the president’s call.”
But Wyden fired back that “a review of 1.5 million pages of emails and documents and interviews with more than 30 IRS officials doesn't point to a single shred of political interference.”
Hatch, who recommended that senators “read the doggone report,” added that “a lot of work … needs to be done if the agency is every going to restore the confidence and regain the public’s trust.”
McConnell appeared to echo that sentiment on Wednesday evening, saying that “the time for forthright answers and an actual, serious plan from the Obama Administration to prevent this from ever happening again is now.”