By Teresa Welsh |
As one of the Judiciary Committee members participating in the 1974 impeachment hearings against President Nixon, I can categorically say that the recent "scandals" are in no way another Watergate. The key to Watergate was that Nixon was personally involved in breaking the law to gain an advantage over a political opponent. It certainly seems as if there is a group of people trying to use this manufactured crisis to gain a political advantage, but it is not the current president or any other Democrats.
The Internal Revenue Service made a mistake and has some explaining to do. This mistake, however, was not politically motivated, nor did it reach higher than the employees who created the poor system to seek out those trying to take advantage of the law. President Nixon ordered the IRS to audit individuals he didn't like. President Obama had no knowledge of the current IRS conduct and certainly never intended the law to be applied in this way.
Instead of using this to levy political attacks, we should be using it to highlight the real problem: political groups seeking to exploit the tax code. It is time to craft better legislation and give better guidance to the IRS so this cannot happen again. It is not the time to engage in partisan bickering.
There is no doubt that the recent Justice Department seizure of Associated Press phone records raises concerns about freedom of the press. I am a strong supporter of First Amendment rights, and like all Americans, I want to get to the bottom of this. But let us be unequivocally clear about one thing: Obama did not order this and the Justice Department, right or wrong in its decision, was seeking only to protect our nation and ensure the safety of those that risk their lives to protect us. There was no political motive.
Comparing the events that followed the terrible incident in Benghazi to Watergate is both a tired political tactic and an unqualified insult to the integrity of this nation. Watergate will forever be a black mark on this nation's history. To attempt to bring the sacrifices of proud citizens serving our country to that level is shameful. Benghazi should have been a moment of unity, not partisanship.
America continues to face real problems that the Republican-controlled House refuses to make a serious effort to solve. We should be using our time to focus on economic recovery and job creation, as well as immigration reform and gun violence. Instead, we find ourselves engaged in another useless partisan squabble. As we vote on a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act for the thirty-seventh time (which is clearly a waste of time and $52.4 million), something should become indisputable to all: Republicans care about politics, not people
About Charles B. Rangel Democratic Representative from New York
Steve King Republican Representative from Iowa
No – IRS and AP Scandals Are No Watergate
Tracy Sefl Democratic Strategist
James Robenalt Partner at Thompson Hine