EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


May 19, 2013

Column: Plenty of hyporcrisy over the latest Washington scandals


Ironically, the IRS commissioner at the time of the latest political abuse was appointed by a Republican. Also, some new 501(c)(4) organizations are not engaged in “social welfare” as the law requires. Former top Bush aide Karl Rove’s group Crossroads America has that status, although it has raised hundreds of millions of dollars solely to defeat Obama and other Democrats.

The third shoe to drop was the revelation that the Justice Department secretly got phone records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to Associated Press journalists after the AP disclosed that a double agent in al-Qaida foiled a plot hatched in Yemen to blow up an airliner.

Attorney General Eric Holder defends examining AP phone records as legal. He called the leak about Yemen to the AP “very, very serious,” one of the worst he’s ever seen.

Obama said the first he heard about this was in the news media a few days ago. Really? A “very, very serious” leak and he didn’t know any details about the investigation until he read the newspaper?

Democrats and Republicans say this abuse of AP’s press freedom is shocking. Oddly, a year ago Democrats and Republicans alike admonished the administration to get tough on leakers, to heck with the media.

Really, folks, there is a lot of hypocrisy going on here.

Benghazi was tragic. The scandal is not what the administration said at the time but that Congress cut money for embassy security.

After firing the current acting IRS commissioner, Obama promised to institute safeguards to depoliticize the agency to restore citizens’ trust. Next, Congress should define what “social welfare” means.

The Justice Department should have given the Associated Press the opportunity to go to court to try to block the government from examining AP’s sources. The actions against AP will discourage whistleblowers, who help keep government clean. And we need a shield law to protect journalists; that’s opposed by many Republicans claiming outrage on AP’s behalf.

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