Senator Ted Cruz says the IRS scandal “harkens back to the days of Richard Nixon,” and proves that President Obama keeps an “enemies list.”
“This is part of a distressing pattern of the Obama administration of being less than honest with the American people and using the machinery of government to target their political opponents,” Cruz tells National Review in an interview.
“It harkens back to the days of Richard Nixon and maintaining a political enemies list and treating the federal government as a tool to exact the administration’s retribution,” he adds.
“I believe the president owes an accounting to the American people,” the senator says, “when senior administration officials speak directly to the American people and utter flat-out falsehoods, as Jay Carney did when he said the State Department had never edited the talking points, when in fact ABC News has reported there were a dozen edits from the State Department of those talking points; or as the IRS did, when the head of the IRS testified before Congress that there was no targeting of political appointees when senior officials at the IRS knew for a fact they had been doing precisely that – targeting conservative groups, targeting tea-party groups, targeting Jewish groups, targeting pro-Israel groups, engaging in conduct that is completely inappropriate for an agency of the federal government.”
In November, Carney said at a White House press briefing that “the White House and the State Department have made clear that the single adjustment that was made to those talking points by either of those two institutions were changing the word ‘consulate’ to ‘diplomatic facility’ because ‘consulate’ was inaccurate.”
ABC reported last week that they had “obtained 12 different versions of the talking points that show they were extensively edited” and that “White House emails reviewed by ABC News suggest the edits were made with extensive input from the State Department.”
Talking about media coverage of the IRS after the story broke, Cruz singled out the New York Times for criticism, criticizing the newspaper’s decision to headline a story today, “I.R.S. Focus on Conservatives Gives G.O.P. an Issue to Seize On.”
“The front page of the New York Times struck me as almost self-parody, in that the headline on this story was not that the IRS has admitted now it was targeting political enemies of the president,” Cruz says. “Rather, the headline the New York Times chose to run with was that this issue gives Republicans yet another issue to criticize. So apparently the story in the New York Times’ view is not the underlying corruption, not the misuse of the federal government to exact political retribution, but rather the fact that there is an even a slight effort to hold the administration accountable.”
“I think there is no doubt that, had the same underlying facts come to light in a Republican administration, the New York Times headline would have been very, very different,” he adds. “We don’t have to theorize about this hypothetically because this exact tactic was practiced by Richard Nixon. The New York Times was rightly indignant about it. And yet when practiced by a Democrat somehow it’s barely news.”
Cruz called for an investigation of the IRS’s actions, saying, “I think there needs to be a thorough inquiry into what happened, who made the decision to target the political enemies of the administration, why they made that decision, whose favor they believed they were currying by making that decision, and who in the administration was either aware of it or willfully ignorant of it.”