Alex Witt   |  May 12, 2013

Political implications of IRS targeting Tea Party groups

Political columnist for the Washington Post, Dana Milibank, and staff reporter for Mother Jones, Andy Kroll, opine the IRS and Mark Sanford with MSNBC’s Alex Witt. They comment on the political implications of the IRS targeting tea party groups ahead of the 2012 election. Both talk about the role of the GOP in Mark Sanford’s South Carolina Congressional win.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> about the i.r.s. targets tea party groups. the associated presses reporting a senior i.r.s. official knew back in 2011 that agents were giving extra scrutiny to conservative political groups . the agency apologized friday, but critics say that's not enough. here's susan collins of maine today.

>> this is truly outrageous and contribute to the profound distrust that the american people have in government. it is absolutely chilling that the i.r.s. was singling out conservative groups for extra review.

>> joining me now political columnist for "the washington post " dana milbank and staff reporter for " mother jones " andy krull."

>>> we have mitch mcdonnell who is demanding a government wide review and investigation into the irs. how big is this? are we just scratching the surface here?

>> well, obviously that's the concern, alex. this is a very significant thing action and they're you'll right to be calling for these investigations now. the benghazi case, which you were talking about earlier, that's become sort of a political food fight . this we can all agree on, the irs should not be targeting conservatives or anyone else. the administration cannot really just stay, it's a quasi- independent agency . it's up to them, they've got to get really involved in the investigation, too, because this discredits everything.

>> it's interesting. it doesn't seem to have any friends, even senator rand paul is saying government should never be used to bully people. but andy, you have the white house spokesman jay carney saying friday the i.r.s. does not take its marching orders from the white house , but will critics use it against the president? will we see attack ads next year?

>> without a doubt. just like the ben ghazi controversy, you will see revenue in -- you name it, trying to pin this scandal, because that's really what it is action on the obama administration. you have senator susan coal nsz this morning demanding an apology from the president over this i.r.s. scandal. you're going to see it in ads in testimony, you'll see the i.r.s. dragged over the coals and the obama administration connected to this at every turn. whether the obama administration has any knowledge, we don't know, hard to see how -- but they'll be linked the whole way through.

>> dana, also today mark sanford is talking about his victory in south carolina 's first district congressional seat. certainly a major comeback after he resigned as governor in disgrace after admitting to the affair.

>> i would say you probably learned more in the valleys of life than the mountaintops. i learned whole new things i never contemplated before with regard to god's grace, with the reflected grace that comes through other humans that you walk with on a daily basis. i would say that i learned a lot about judgment, a lot about forgiveness.

>> sounds like he's learned a lot about spiritual redemption. what do you think it was that propelled this comeback, do you think?

>> i don't know about the role of god's grace in his comeback, but there were practical things. one, it was a divided primary, and then let's face it, even with all of his baggage, this is a heavily republican district that democrats have no business representing. the very fact he was in jeopardy of losing that the polls were showing that showed just how much disfavor the voters had with him. ultimately they decided, look, we're going to vote or ideology here, you know, if -- for democrats, if there is a silver lining it's that mark sanford is now in congress. that will be an endless source of amusement for them.

>> i'm going to be honest, i was talking with luke russert this week, and he covers capitol hill , and i asked him, what do you think about this? how is he going to be regarded when he hits congress? and he said, i don't think he's going to be taken seriously. i don't think he's going to be effective. if that's the case, are the people of the first district there in south carolina being well served by their representative in congress? what do you think the chances of that are, dana?

>> if being effective or being taken seriously is the standard, he will be in pretty good company, because very good representatives are actually that way. i suspect that if he becomes the constant joke, you may see a more formidable republican challenge to him, to try to get rid of that embarrassment. you can be sure that the democrats at least will find ways to keep bringing this up. you never know what he's going to say.

>> what about your article? your latest is titled koch lengthed women's group takes challenge, so what is this all about?

>> the point of the piece was that while the establishment republican base had more or less abandoned mark sanford there were a number of controversies, a number of missteps during the campaign that just concluded, he did get some key support this last week before the election, you know, a quarter of a million from one of this is secretive shattoey conservative groups. he may have tripped up along the way, but right when it mattered in that last week, he got some key support from the conservative base, the big funders there who didn't abandon him quite like hi republican mainstream colleagues did.

>> that may indeed put him over the top . good to talk with you guys, as always. thank.