President Barack Obama's administration is going after political opponents through a "culture of intimidation," says Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.).
It's been exposed through revelations that the IRS targeted groups with conservative-sounding names who were seeking tax-exempt status, McConnell said on NBC's "Meet The Press". And also through the Benghazi scandal, in which the White House tried to silence whistleblowers with knowledge about the tragic events that led to the deaths of four Americans - including the U.S. ambassador to Libya - on Sept. 11, 2012.
"There is a culture of intimidation throughout the administration. The IRS is just the most recent example," McConnell said. "It's no wonder that the agents in the IRS sorta get the message. The president demonizes his opponents." McConnell added:
What we're talking about here is an attitude that the government knows best. The nanny state is here to tell us all what to do. And if we start criticizing, you get targeted.
Not surprisingly, Obama administration officials have a different view of this past week's events. Also on "Meet The Press, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said Republicans are trying to use the problems at the IRS for partisan gain, rather than trying to constructively solve problems at the tax agency.
"I think there's no question there's a very real problem at the IRS," Pfeiffer said. "We've seen this playbook from the Republicans before. What they want to do when they're lacking a positive agenda is try to drag Washington into a swamp of partisan fishing expeditions, trumped-up hearings and false allegations. We're not going to let that happen. The president's got business to do for the American people."