GOP ties scandal to health care law administrator
WASHINGTON — Political scandals have ways of causing collateral damage, and Republicans are hoping the furor over federal tax enforcers singling out conservative groups will ensnare their biggest target: the president's health care law.
There is a link, but it may be coincidence.
The Internal Revenue Service has a major role in carrying out the health care law, because financial assistance to help the uninsured afford coverage will be funneled through the tax system. At the same time, the IRS is responsible for penalties on individuals and employers who fail to comply with the law's requirements.
A former head of the office that subjected Tea Party groups seeking tax exemptions to tougher scrutiny is now running the tax agency's division in charge of implementing the health care law.
That official apparently switched roles before internal alarm bells went off about the problem. But in the weekly GOP radio address on Saturday, Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., tried to make the connection.
“If we've learned anything this week, it's that the IRS needs less power, not more,” Harris said. “As matter of fact, it turns out that the IRS official who oversaw the operation that's under scrutiny for targeting conservatives is now in charge of the IRS's Obamacare office. You can't make this stuff up.”
Earlier in the week, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., cited the IRS role in administering the law, saying: “The average American will pay more; they'll get less.”
Nonsense, says Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., ranking Democrat on Ways and Means, which oversees the IRS.
“There really isn't a tie,” said Levin. “This is another effort by the Republicans to essentially try to score political points.”
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.