- - Thursday, April 10, 2014

What did the president know and when did he know it?

Tennessee Sen. Howard Baker famously asked that question as the senior Republican in the Watergate hearings in 1973.

Today, 41 years later, it is time to ask the same question, and it is time for an independent prosecutor to start asking questions.

The IRS scandal is engulfing the Democrat establishment in Washington. Now, only an independent prosecutor can get to the bottom of this and, more important, prosecute those responsible for criminal acts against the American people.

Yesterday, The Washington Times reported the Dallas office of the Internal Revenue Service was a virtual office for the campaign to re-elect President Obama in 2012. There were re-elect Obama stickers all over the office as well as campaign buttons. There were re-elect Obama screen savers on government computers.

One IRS employee told a taxpayer on the phone to re-elect Obama. He even had a chant to re-elect Obama.

The cockroach theory applies here: If there is one, there are probably more.

In Kentucky, an IRS employee is serving a 14-day unpaid suspension for bashing Republicans during a phone call to a taxpayer.

The cockroach theory applies here: When you see two, you know there are a lot more.

Then there is Lois Lerner.

The former IRS executive directed persecution of conservative groups. The House of Representatives is threatening to hold her in contempt and refer her case to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution.

New emails show that in 2013, Lerner was demanding that Karl Rove’s Crossroads group be denied its nonprofit status and be audited. At the same time, she was talking about going to work for Obama’s campaign group, Obama for America (Now Organizing for America).

In February, Michigan Rep. Dave Camp revealed that in 2013, the IRS conducted audits of nonprofit 501c4 organizations. Every organization audited was a conservative political group. Not a single liberal or progressive group was audited.

Now, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darryl Issa is accusing Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the committee’s ranking Democrat, of coordinating with the IRS to target conservative groups. The Oversight Committee discovered an email between Cummings’ office and the IRS, asking for information on True The Vote, a Texas based conservative group that has been targeted by the IRS.

The Left has a simple view of the law: The laws apply to Republicans but not to Democrats. The Left views big government as simply another arm of the progressive movement — an arm to protect liberals and punish conservatives.

For Republicans, this is a bridge too far.

It is long past time for Republicans to stand up. Republicans need to demand the appointment of an independent prosecutor in the IRS case. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that he had found no criminal wrongdoing in the IRS scandal, yet the FBI did not interview a single Tea Party activist persecuted by the IRS. Any current or former prosecutor will tell you that there is no way to determine if a crime has been committed without talking to the victims.

Republicans should raise the ante and, if necessary, stop funding the government until the Justice Department appoints an independent prosecutor.

Republicans also need to defund the IRS. That agency is totally out of control. Reforming an agency that is this rogue is simply impossible.

Republicans need to show courage for a change. Crimes have been committed, and it certainly appears these crimes lead back to the White House.

America deserves an independent prosecutor who will ask the question, “What did the president know and when did he know it?”

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