Scandal in Washington: How much do we really care?Heather L. Barmore
I have a question about scandals and not those of the Shondaland variety. I mean those are good and perhaps later we can get into why Fitz keeps going back to Mellie and whether or not Olivia and Fitz will ever get back together and how do we get Quinn to go away?
In all seriousness; how much attention did you pay to the scandals’ that rocked Washington, DC this past week? On a scale of 1 (who is Eric Holder?) to 10 (impeach! impeach! impeach!)? I ask because now that I live outside of the Beltway I realize that there is an entire world beyond Montgomery County, Maryland. A world where people don’t question your political affiliation upon first meeting you and most people have zero opinions about Darrell Issa. It’s a kind of blissful ignorance where Joe and Jane Smith are worried about their bills and their daughter’s soccer game and the only September 11th attack they are aware of is the one that happened in 2001.
The other day I happened to be watching Attorney General Eric Holder deliver his “epic smackdown” of Congressman Darrell Issa when someone came into my office and I actually shushed them for speaking while CSPAN – or as I like to call it, my stories’ – were on. Like, it didn’t register that they might actually have it out in the way Washingtonian’s have it out which is by sternly referring to someone from the other party as my friend’. But damn, it was going to be a good one. So I asked the intruder to get out.
I also ask because while I have been riveted by the events of the last week only to come out of it with more questions, I wonder if anyone else besides us armchair pundits and rabid progressives and conservatives alike really care.
So, TL; DR: Did you or have you been paying attention to the scandals that have plagued the White House and Washington? Do you care?
Here’s the skinny on each scandal’ and I’ll leave it up to you to decide what to think and how much brain space you’d like for it take up.
The IRS 1 of 4I have strong opinions about this one based on the Citizens United case which opened the door for 501(c)( 4) organizations to allow for endless amounts of money into the political process because corporations are people, too. The IRS was caught targeting organizations who apply for 501(c)(4) status based on the political leanings of the organization. The IRS decided by filtering organizations that used the words "tea party" or "patriot". The White House claims that they had no knowledge of this practice considering that it was occurring during the 2012 election cycle. The acting IRS Commissioner, Steve Miller, resigned last Wednesday but was fortunate enough to endure a grilling by Congress last Friday. The not so-minor detail in this is that the acting Commissioner who resigned wasn't even in charge at the time that the IRS was discriminating against conservative groups. It's been a week and today we find out that while Senior White House officials knew of the IRS' activity the president did not. More here.
The Department of Justice 2 of 4The Department of Justice was found to have seized the work and personal phone lines of Associated Press reporters. This DOJ investigation was because of an AP article on a foiled CIA terror plot where the AP disclosed specifics of the operation. According to DOJ the phone records were seized as part of an ongoing investigation into the AP's practices and which government officials they had used and have been using as sources. When Attorney General Eric Holder was grilled last week - there was a lot of that going on. It was a good time for a C-SPAN addict - he didn't know the specifics because he had recused himself from the investigation. As an aside the committee investigating the actions of the Department of Justice (led by AG Holder) really don't like Eric Holder and Eric Holder doesn't like them which makes for interesting viewing. Democracy is fun!. More here.
Benghazi Investigation 3 of 4The events of September 11, 2012 in Benghazi Libya remain a mystery but a source of serious partisan rancor. The right side of the political aisle says that the White House, the Department of State and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are all hiding something in the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other foreign service officers. Last week the White House released hundreds of emails related to Benghazi and the talking points delivered after the attack and what was changed and what wasn't. It seems that this scandal while a horrific tragedy - and I've seen the photos - is partisan. Either way it has opened the door for a conversation on the security of those who work in highly volatile and unstable areas. More here. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Umbrella-gate 4 of 4During a press conference it rained. The president needed an umbrella. Two marines held an umbrella for the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Turkey. This is now a story. The end. More here.