It’s been a scandal-filled week in Washington, one where Iowa’s Congressional delegation has united, at least in the need to sort out what went wrong.
First was a committee hearing on the Benghazi incident, followed by news that the Internal Revenue Service had been targeting Tea Party groups to investigate misuse of non-profit status, and finally the Associated Press learned its reporters had been subject to widespread collection of phone records in a Justice Department investigation of a leak related to terrorist activity.
Republican Sen. Charles Grassley said the IRS investigation should involve questioning that agency about how the targeting happened, then follow the trail those answers provide. However, he said looking at political motives shouldn’t be the only focus of the investigation.
“We shouldn’t just raise the questions from a political and ideological standpoint, we should raise the questions is this further dysfunction of the government. Is this just an example of over arching government impeding on everybody’s freedom, not just of taxpayers, but you see it a little bit in the AP investigation of government violating freedom of speech, freedom of press,” Grassley said.
1st District Rep. Bruce Braley was asked in a Wednesday conference call with Iowa reporters if the recent events hurt Democrats.
“I think any time you have a series of concerns raised like we’ve been seeing this week, that’s a bad week for whatever party is in the White House that is in charge of the executive branch,” Braley said.
Braley called for the resignation of Lois Lerner, director of exempt organizations at the IRS.
“The latest reports of what has been happening in the Internal Revenue Service undermines the public’s trust in government, it harms the IRS’s ability to enforce the laws they’re charged with enforcing and it hurts their efforts to enforce the regulations that apply to 501(c)(4) organizations,” Braley said.
4th District Rep. Steve King, who has been a favorite of the Tea Party movement, made comments that cast doubt on whether the White House would work to root out the problems in the IRS and wondered whether the Tea Party groups would be eligible for government reparation for damages.
Meanwhile, 2nd District Rep. Dave Loebsack wrote the acting commissioner of the IRS, calling for the dismissal of anyone involved in wrongdoing in the IRS scandal.