KATIE ZERR: Scandals are nothing new to politics
It has been a bad week for the Obama Administration with a series of controversies forcing the White House team to engage the “cover our six” mode.
Probes into what Republicans are calling a Watergate-like cover up of the terrorist attack in the Benghazi consulate attack are turning ugly with talk of impeachment rearing its ugly head.
It seems like that threat is becoming more and more popular in our history. If it is proved that the Obama Administration wanted to cover up the fact that this was an act of terror because it was an election year, is it an impeachable offense?
Maybe not, but lying to the American people repeatedly has proven to be.
This could be interesting to watch, as it seems more and more this administration is scurrying to explain what has come to light. For an administration that promised a more open government, it would receive an “F” on most grade scales.
Another scandal that has surfaced this week is the revelation that the Justice Department seized phone records from journalists at The Associated Press without notifying it of the subpoena.
On Tuesday the Justice Department defended its actions saying the subpoenaed records were a part of an investigation into classified leaks has been a problem for this White House. It said the requests were limited and the Justice Department had balanced the public’s right to know with national security. Leaks have plagued this administration and it seems they took a bold step to get a handle on the situation.
But if this administration were more open as promised in the campaign, would these leaks happen with such frequency?
Republicans are a little less vocal about this as in recent history there have been some questionable incidences involving government seizure of records under the Patriot Act and even before it was enacted.
In yet another government scandal it was reported that the IRS had singled out of some conservative groups, related to the Tea Party and other organizations, resulting in lengthy delays in the processing of their applications for federal tax-exempt status, are creating a whirlwind of controversy.
In 2010 the IRS developed and followed a policy to determine whether the applicants were engaged in political activities, which would disqualify the groups from receiving tax-exempt status.
This seems like legalese for a poor example of justification for these incredible acts of stupidity.
In this age of constant 24-hours news, with people with computers monitoring chatter through the Internet and Twitter, how can these people think this would not be detected?
Yet are we so naive to think that this is a new phenomena thought up by this group of IRS employees? It has happened for decades.
That doesn’t make it any more reprehensible. It is wrong in so many ways that criminal charges need to filed. The IRS needs to be held accountable and shown the agency is not above the law.
Scandals are not new in government. It seems politicians are slow learners when it comes to trying to cover their mistakes.
Recent history is wrought with scandals that brought down some political figures from both sides of the aisle.
Some worth noting include the Valerie Plame Wilson incident; President Bill Clinton impeachment after he lied under oath about Monica Lewinsky; and the Iran-Contra incident in the President Ronald Reagan White House. And as for President Richard Nixon, his administration were the poster boys for what not to try and get away with while in the White House. Nixon ultimately resigned his office after the burglary at political offices in the Watergate; Vice President Spiro Agnew’s resignation after he was indicted on bribery charges; and the squashing of the release of Pentagon Papers, a top-secret document that detailed decisions leading up to the Vietnam War.
As the Obama administration continues on the defensive, Republicans in Congress dig in against the president’s second-term agenda.
The scandals may empower Congress to do even less than they have in previous four years.
As if they really needed more excuses to do nothing, now they can sit on investigative panels and get more camera time.