As the White House obfuscated and IRS officer Lois Lerner plead the Fifth, calls for a special prosecutor grew louder in the nation's capital this week. Not so fast, says Michigan Rep. Dave Camp, R-Midland, who is overseeing House Ways and Means Committee investigations into the scandal.
“This is just the beginning of our investigation. There is clearly a culture of discrimination and political intimidation at the IRS that needs to be addressed,” Camp told The Detroit News. “There are investigations underway in the House, Senate and at the FBI, so there are plenty of people examining the issue and gathering all the facts so we can get to the bottom of this and ensure that it does not happen again. That is our job here in Congress and the IRS has a responsibility to be honest and cooperative with Congress on these matters. We need to let these investigations proceed uninterrupted.”
And if the IRS continues to be uncooperative? We might suggest the same treatment the IRS applies to us when we miss a filing deadline.
As if the news that the U.S. Justice Department had subpoenaed phone records for lines affecting an estimated 100 Associated Press journalists — without their knowledge — wasn’t chilling enough, The Washington Post broke a story this week about a similar case. And this one is more disturbing. Consider this: The Justice Department seized phone records and emails of James Rosen, a Fox News correspondent, and even remotely charted his visits to the State Department by tracking when he scanned his ID at the building. That sounds more like a scenario from the pages of George Orwell’s “1984” than something that should be happening within the U.S. government. But it did occur, and journalists and First Amendment advocates agree these actions are way overboard.
Worse, federal investigators have suggested that Rosen may have acted as a co-conspirator in a crime because he was trying to get the information. This goes against what courts have determined in the past: That journalists shouldn’t be held liable for information leaked to them illegally. The Obama administration is paranoid about leaks and has taken aggressive measures, such as these, to track down the offending government employees; it’s already done this more times than all other previous administrations combined. For example, in the Rosen case, the administration wanted to know who leaked information relating to his 2009 story about North Korea’s likely response to U.N. sanctions.
President Obama initially defended the handling of the AP case, but in response to the growing chorus of criticism he said on Thursday that a review of the Justice Department’s guidelines was in order.
It’s true that the administration has to find a line between protecting national security and upholding the First Amendment. Recent actions go too far in harming these Constitutional protections, and Obama shouldn’t stand for it.
From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130525/OPINION01/305250016#ixzz2UKBBJ8LX