- The Washington Times - Monday, June 3, 2013

It was a fireworks show on Sunday, as former White House senior adviser David Plouffe tried to deny to former George W. Bush deputy chief of staff Karl Rove that the ongoing IRS scandal has anything to do with politics.

The heated back-and-forth took place on ABC’s “This Week,” and began when Mr. Plouffe tried to dial down rhetoric on the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups.

“There’s been no suggestion — the independent, the prosecutor looked at this, excuse me, the inspector general said there was no politics involved in this,” Mr. Plouffe said, on the Sunday broadcast. “No one has indicated at all that the White House is involved. … This was not a political pursuit.”

Mr. Rove’s response: “Baloney.” He then asked: “If it was not political, then why are only conservative groups being targeted?”

Mr. Plouffe said, “There were liberal groups targeted,” but when challenged by Mr. Rove to name one, could not. He added: “You’re taking license here, Karl. … This was not an effort driven by the White House. It would be the dumbest political effort of all time.”

Mr. Rove said he “didn’t suggest it was being driven by the White House,” but added that “people sitting in Cincinnati, Laguna Nigel, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., listened to Sen. Max Baucus, Sen. Chuck Schumer, President Obama. When President Obama goes out in 2008, 2010 and calls these groups, quote, ‘a threat to democracy,’ he’s blowing the dog whistle.”

Mr. Rove also condemned the “culture at the IRS” as one “that has been going after conservative groups.” He added: “And this administration has done an ineffective job of managing it. When this issue came up in 2010, if the administration was serious about it, President Obama should have picked up the phone and called [Timothy] Geithner at Treasury and said, ‘You better get your secretary for Treasury or the undersecretary to check into this because this is corrosive of our democracy to have the IRS targeting conservative groups.’”

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