Pelosi: Blame Bush for IRS Scandal

Friday, 24 May 2013 10:38 AM

By Melanie Batley

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has tried to shift the blame for the IRS targeting scandal to former president George W. Bush.

Pelosi pointed out that it was Bush who appointed Doug Shulman as head of the tax collection agency — and it was during Shulman's watch that conservative and tea party groups were targeted for extra scrutiny.

Pelosi was asked by a reporter whether Democrats would be hit during next year's midterm elections as the mess happened during President Barack Obama's watch, RealClearPolitics reports.

"Well, you said it happened under his watch. It happened under the appointment of the head of the IRS, who was appointed by President Bush," the California Democrat replied. "His length of stay extended into President Obama's stay.

"That points to the fact — why is this a politicized issue? We all are concerned about how the IRS does what it's supposed to do but does not do it in a selective way," Pelosi added.

When she was pressed on whether the buck should stop with Obama, Pelosi tried to drag House Speaker John Boehner into the mess, asking whether he should have known as the IRS office at the center of the affair is in Cincinnati, close to Boehner's House district.

"The president doesn't know about everything that is going in every agency in government," she said. "Should Mr. Boehner have known because this is the neighborhood in Cincinnati where the IRS office is.

"I don't think you can hold him accountable for what happened in that IRS office. I think that obviously the public will make its decision about it but that's it. It's a Bush appointee, under his leadership this happened. It was wrong. Let's make sure it doesn't happen again."

Bush nominated Shulman for the post of IRS commissioner in November 2007. He was confirmed by the Senate the following March and his term expired in November last year.

During hearings on Capitol Hill Tuesday he said he didn't know why his agency targeted conservative groups for heightened scrutiny but added, "I very much regret that it happened and that it happened on my watch."

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