New York, NY – Scandal seemed to follow the President on his visit to Manhattan on Monday.
In the morning, Obama had to address the IRS’ apology for possibly picking on the Tea Party and then this afternoon the Department of Justice came under attack from one of the most revered news organizations in the nation.
The head of the Tea Party Patriots fired back at the Obama Administration after the IRS apologized for over-scrutinizing conservative charity groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Tea Party Patriots Director Keli Carender said, “This is chilling. This is what happens in other countries when government agencies target and harass particular groups based on their ideology. That is deserving of so much more than just a mere apology.”
While the IRS called it an honest mistake, in a press conference today, the President vowed to hold the department accountable if the allegations are true.
“If in fact IRS personnel engaged in the kind of practices that have been reported on and were intentionally targeting conservative groups, then that’s outrageous and there’s no place for it,” Obama told reporters.
Then late Monday afternoon, the CEO of the Associated Press, Gary Pruitt, fired off a letter this afternoon to Attorney General Eric Holder, claiming the Department of Justice conducted a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” By “secretly obtaining” home and cell phone records of AP reporters for a two month period.
The AP says the records potentially reveal “confidential sources” and “provide a road map to AP’s news gathering operations” “that the government has no conceivable right to know.”
The AP reported Monday that the secret seizure of the phone records are likely linked to one of its 2012 stories that disclosed details of a CIA operation in Yemen that the CIA director called (in his Senate testimony) a “damaging leak of classified information.”
In a statement released late Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU, said, “Obtaining a broad range of telephone records in order to ferret out a government leaker is an unacceptable abuse of power,” said Ben Wizner, director of the ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project.
The ACLU is demanding the Department of Justice explain its actions to the public.
So far, no word from the government on this.
As far as the ACLU is concerned, if true, both the DOJ controversy and the IRS scandal, are examples of the Federal Government violating the First Amendment.
AP LETTER TO DOJ