Former Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich on Monday tied a scandal where the Internal Revenue Service targeted tea party groups to President Barack Obama’s health care reform law and last September’s attacks in Benghazi.
In an interview on MSNBC, host Joe Scarborough asked the former House Speaker what the president needed to do after The Associated Press revealed that the IRS has improperly scrutinized tea party organizations to determine if they had abused their tax-exempt status.
“This is a huge problem because Obamacare relies very heavily on the IRS,” Gingrich opined. “I think the president has to say he’s going to open up totally, he’s going to demand everybody meet with Congress, go to the hearings, he’s going to fire everybody he can legally fire who’s been involved in this.”
“And they’ve got to look at changes,” he continued. “How can you put Obamacare under an Internal Revenue Service — remember this is an administration which will not profile terrorists, but profile patriots, profile constitutional groups. I mean, this is almost madness.”
But Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Carl Bernstein said that Gingrich was making a mistake by tying the IRS scandal to Obamacare.
“There ought to be an investigation, there ought to be a criminal investigation if it’s warranted,” Bernstein explained. “And that’s it. But to start making these global pronouncements about where it goes and it affects Obamacare seems to me is part of the problem.”
“My point is, Carl, why would you trust the bureaucracy with your health if you can’t trust the bureaucracy with you politics?” Gingrich shot back. “But notice one other thing, the parallel between Benghazi and the IRS story is amazing. Lying and then lying about lying then hiding from the fact that they’re lying then seeking to apologize from lies that they claim they didn’t tell. I mean, this pattern is a culture of big government that believes it’s more important than the American people.”
“The notion that somehow bureaucracy is always bad, the government does some very good things,” Bernstein noted. “We’ve got to look at the government not as this monolith that does all bad, all good. We got to look specifically at what we’re talking about.”
“There’s something culturally sick if the American government says, ‘Boy, you put that word Constitution in your name, we’re going to come after you,’” Gingrich insisted. “Again, this is the administration that is shocked at the idea of profiling for terrorism, but apparently had an entire part of the IRS that was profiling for patriotism.”
On Sunday, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) called for an inspector general’s audit of the Internal Revenue Service.
Watch this video from the MSNBC’s Morning Joe, broadcast May 13, 2013.