Fox News had a gotcha moment go wrong, when Sen. Dick Durbin explained why Karl Rove deserves to be investigated by the IRS.
Transcript via Fox News Sunday:
WALLACE: Senator Durbin, I want to pick up on this culture. Starting in 2010, a number of Democratic senators — Democrat senators — sent letters to the IRS asking them to investigate various groups that they said were seeking tax-exempt status, but were improperly involved in politics. Now, in October 2010, you sent a letter to the IRS in which you talked about going after groups.
But you only mentioned one specifically by name and I want to put this up from the October 2010 letter that you wrote to the IRS, “One organization whose activities appear to be inconsistent with the tax status is Crossroads GPS.” That, of course, a group co-founded by Karl Rove.
Question, Senator — why single out Crossroads when you did not mention one single liberal group, and there were a bunch that were applying for that exempt-status exactly that point, with the name “progress” in their names?
DURBIN: I can just tell you flat out why I did it, because that Crossroads organization was boasting about the money they were raising as a 501(c)(4).
Let’s get back to the basics. Citizens United really unleashed hundreds, if not thousands, of organizations seeking tax-exempt statuses to play in political campaigns. The law we wrote as Congress said that they had to exclusively be engaged in social welfare and not politics and campaigning.
And so, here is the IRS trying to decide whether or not these organizations really comply with the law. Crossroads was exhibit A. They were boastful about how much the money they were going to raise and beat Democrats.
WALLACE: Senator Durbin, just briefly, why not, because we’re now in the mess that we are in because of political targeting, why not send a letter that says, go after any group of any political persuasion? Why not refrain from mentioning a conservative group and never mentioned any liberal groups?
DURBIN: Well, I explained that once, Chris. But, you know, Karl Rove was making — he’s boasting, saying he’s going to raise so much money, millions of dollars. And I knew that if they went into investigate this group, every other group would be put on notice.
I’ve also said from the beginning, Chris, there’s no basis for targeting within the IRS, what we basically need to say is all groups need to have the law applied to them equally. And in this situation, Karl Rove was front and center and proud of it. And that’s why I mentioned his organization.
Sen. Durbin did a great job laying it out. Karl Rove deserved, and continues to deserve IRS scrutiny because his dark money Crossroads groups are violating the rules for tax exempt organizations. Rove has regularly boasted about how much money Crossroads is spending to defeat Democrats, when tax exempt nonprofits aren’t supposed to be engaging in partisan political activity.
Fox News was trying to play gotcha with Dick Durbin, and he turned the tables on them by explaining why their own paid contributor is violating the rules. Once Durbin got into Citizens United, host Chris Wallace tried to redirect the questioning back to Durbin’s letter, but instead got another reminder that Karl Rove was flaunting his lawbreaking ways.
There are two things that Republicans never want to talk about when it comes to the IRS scandal. They try to avoid Citizens United, and fact that these right wing organizations were trying to abuse the system in order to get tax exempt status.
Republicans are working furiously to make the IRS scandal about Obama, because they don’t want America to wake up to the real scandal. The influx of dark money thanks to Citizens United, and the right’s widespread abuse of 501(c)(4)s are the stories that Republicans are trying to hide.
Sen. Durbin didn’t play the Fox News game. Instead of being on the defensive, he laid out the dirty little secret that the right doesn’t want America to know.
Karl Rove and the other right wing groups deserved to be investigated by the IRS, because they are breaking the law.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association