House Republicans seeking a direct link between President Obama and the IRS targeting of conservative groups — a connection Democrats say is essential for a legitimate White House scandal — have released a report detailing dozens of examples that they say prove the president and fellow Democrats pressured the agency to act.
The influence campaign unofficially started during Obama’s January 2010 State of the Union Address in which he “delivered a stunning rebuke” of the Supreme Court decision in favor of the group Citizens United, among the IRS’s first and biggest targets, according to the 77-page report released Monday by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
The decision in part allowed campaign donors to remain anonymous.
“The Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests,” Obama said in the address. “I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse by foreign entities. … And I’d urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to correct some of these problems.”
The report attempts to show that Obama combined his master oratory skills with the “indisputably powerful” presidential bully pulpit to sound a clarion call that was heard by news outlets shaping the national agenda and that led IRS official Lois Learner to start targeting Tea Party and other conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status.
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