Tags: Rove | Durbin | IRS | Crossroads

Karl Rove: Durbin's Defense of IRS Probes 'Ludicrous'

Image: Karl Rove: Durbin's Defense of IRS Probes 'Ludicrous'

By Melanie Batley   |   Thursday, 30 May 2013 11:09 AM

Karl Rove on Thursday slammed Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin as "ludicrous" for defending his earlier call for the Internal Revenue Service to probe conservative groups.

Rove said it was clear that Durbin, the Democrats' second-in-command in the Senate, wanted the IRS to "silence" conservatives when he demanded the tax agency probe the Crossroads GPS super PAC that Rove co-founded.

In an op-ed piece for The Wall Street Journal, Rove pointed out that the Illinois senator wrote to the IRS in October 2010 asking the agency to investigate Crossroads. He said other Democrats wrote similar letters about other conservative groups and most of them are now staying quiet about their role in setting off the IRS scandal.

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"Say this much for Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin: He's got chutzpah," wrote Rove. "Most congressional Democrats who wrote letters asking the IRS to investigate tea party and other 501(c)(4) conservative groups have fallen silent or are expressing feigned outrage that the IRS would do what they asked. But not Mr. Durbin."

He added: "Mr. Durbin not only acknowledged that he sent a letter asking the IRS to investigate the group in October 2010, but defended his request, saying the group he wanted investigated was raising 'millions of dollars.'"

Durbin defended sending the letter on Sunday during an interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace.

"I can just tell you flat out why I did it, because that Crossroads organization was boasting about the money they were raising as a 501(c)(4)," Durbin said on Fox. "Karl Rove was boasting, saying he's going to raise so much money, millions of dollars. And I knew that if they went in to investigate this group, every other group would be put on notice."

Rove ridiculed the answer Durbin gave, saying liberal groups would be gleeful if Crossroads were audited.

"Mr. Durbin offered this ludicrous defense: If the IRS investigated GPS, 'every other group would be put on notice.' Correction: An IRS investigation of a conservative 501(c)(4) would leave liberal 501(c)(4) groups gleeful -- especially since liberal groups have operated for decades in the same way GPS does without Democrats complaining," Rove said.

Rove concluded, "What was going on is obvious. Mr. Durbin wanted the IRS to silence conservatives. So did every other congressional Democrat who wrote similar letters to the IRS, from Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus to New York Sen. Chuck Schumer to Vermont Rep. Peter Welch.

"But in the glare of public attention, using the IRS to cripple or destroy opponents looks corrupt. Abuse of power always is," Rove said.

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