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Columns

June 1, 2013

Justice Dept., IRS abuses worth screaming about

“If this had happened while a Republican was president, the liberal media would be screaming.”

We’ve been hearing that a lot lately from conservatives, and — for once — with good reason.

There’s the Justice Department’s ham-fisted attempts to learn how classified information got leaked to the news media, and then there is the Internal Revenue Service admitting that it has targeted tea party and other conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status.

Setting aside for another day the question of whether the national news media is all that liberal, as a gun-hating, abortion- and gay-rights-supporting admirer of President Barack Obama … I’m screaming.

It’s not one of your short-lived, horror movie, chain saw victim screams, either. No, this is Edvard Munch, hands on the side of my face, Scream of Nature despair stuff.

While right wing politicians and their amen chorus in the media have made victimization and paranoia an art form, in this case they happen to be right about all this being scream-worthy.

The Department of Justice’s Mission Statement includes ensuring “public safety against threats foreign and domestic.” It also includes ensuring “fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.”

In its efforts to accomplish the former, the Justice Department trampled on the latter.

It is an abomination.

Last year, Attorney General Eric Holder and the Obama administration were catching a lot of heat, particularly from Republicans, over an information leak that led to an Associated Press account of an unsuccessful plan by terrorists to bomb a U.S. airplane.

Recusing himself because he had already been questioned about the leak to the AP, Holder left it to Deputy Attorney General James Cole, who decided to ask a judge for a secret subpoena of AP phone records.

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