'Morning Joe': Scrutiny of IRS Would Be Tougher Under a GOP White House

Friday, 27 Jun 2014 10:47 AM

By Wanda Carruthers

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Panelists on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" agreed Friday that interest in the investigation into the IRS would be different if it happened under a Republican administration.

Congress is investigating whether the Internal Revenue Service used its powers in a partisan manner in its review of conservative groups seeking nonprofit status.

"Morning Joe" panelists said Democrats on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform have been less inclined to ask tough questions during witness testimony, most recently that of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

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"There haven't been the type of inquisitive questions from the Democratic side of the ledger about exactly what transpired. They've been mostly focused on the budgeting for IT at these departments, which is not the same issue," said Sam Stein, White House correspondent for The Huffington Post, on "Morning Joe."

Mark Halperin, political analyst for Bloomberg News, said the partisanship indicates a greater divide between the political parties in Washington.

"[It's] not just at these hearings. If this were a serious investigation, the Democratic staff and the Republican staff would sit together and strategize: Who do we subpoena? How do we sequence the hearings? There is none of that," Halperin said.

"Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman who represented Florida in the 1990s, said party affiliation shouldn't matter on an issue this critical.

"This is a serious issue. And if Republicans had done this, would I be raising hell? Yes, but I'd be raising a lot more hell," Scarborough said. "This is disgusting, and I wish Democrats would act a little more shocked."

"Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski pondered if media coverage of the IRS would be different under a Republican administration.

"What I feel like I'm getting, though, from you, from the conversations we've had earlier, is you think that it would be very different if this was a Republican administration, in terms of the coverage," Brzezinski said to Scarborough.

"There's just no doubt about it," Scarborough responded. "And of course, Democrats would be shocked and stunned and deeply saddened. And Republicans would be sitting there shocked and stunned and deeply saddened at the political witch hunt that was going on."


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