Bobby Jindal calls for jailing of IRS officials behind Tea Party targeting
Louisiana governor uses speech to Virginia Republicans to say Barack Obama ‘bears responsibility’ as scandals continue
The governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, on Saturday called for any Inland Revenue Service officials who are found to have unfairly targeted conservative groups to be put in jail. In a speech to be delivered to Virginia Republicans, excerpts of which were released ahead of time, the likely 2016 presidential hopeful took a hard line on the IRS scandal that blew up last week.
“You cannot take the freedom of law-abiding Americans, whether you disagree with them or not, and keep your own freedom. When you do that, you go to jail,” Jindal said.
Jindal was weighing in on a scandal that has rocked the administration of President Barack Obama, after reports emerged that some IRS officials may have singled out Tea Party and other conservative groups for extra scrutiny. Jindal, who is seeking to emerge as a standard-bearer of his party’s ambitions for the next election, also used the opportunity to attack Obama more widely and link the scandal directly to the White House. “When you grow government this big, these kinds of scandals are inevitable, and he bears the responsibility for that,” Jindal said.
Jindal’s comments echo sentiments expressed by the Republican House speaker, John Boehner, who has called for any guilty IRS officials to be sent to prison.
The Republican party is seeking to squeeze every inch of political capital from the issue. But it has having mixed success. Despite repeated attempts, Republicans on a House committee looking at the IRS affair on Friday failed to establish a link between it and White House or the 2012 Obama re-election campaign. In over three hours of grilling of the ousted head of the agency, Steven Miller, no new major details about the scandal emerged, offering the White House breathing space after one of the most frenzied weeks since Obama took office in 2009. Miller conceded simply that “foolish” mistakes were made by people trying to be more “efficient”.