Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), appeared on Fox News' "America Live" with Megan Kelly Wednesday to clarify comments he made during the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on Capitol Hill. Kelly told McDermott he appeared to be blaming the victims of the IRS' strategic targeting.
"You seem to be putting the burden on honest American citizens who are applying for C4 status," Kelly said.
According to McDermott, he mentioned many times over his disdain for the IRS' actions but noted that the process of asking for a tax exemption demands that people open themselves up to being asked a series of questions. "If you ask for a tax exemption, you have to be prepared to justify it," McDermott said.
On Tuesday, McDermott criticized the IRS' targeting of conservative, libertarian and religious groups as being "unacceptable" and "a mistake," but then turned his wrath on the U.S. citizens who dared to seek C4 tax exemption, arguing that a pro-abortion group seeking the same status would've also been scrutinized by the IRS if they sought to support a political candidate.
"If there was an organization promoting taxpayer funding for abortions, wouldn't you want to be sure they weren't using their tax-free money to campaign for a candidate?" McDermott asked.
"Each of your groups is highly political. From opposing the president's health care reform, to abortion restrictions, to gay marriage, you're all entrenched in some of the most controversial political issues in this country…"
As previously reported by The Christian Post, in June 2009, an agent from the IRS office in Cincinnati, Ohio, asked Coalition For Life of Iowa to "send in a letter with the entire board's signatures stating that under perjury of the law we would not picket or protest outside of Planned Parenthood," the pro-life group said in a statement.
Planned Parenthood received $542 million in federal funding in 2011, and spent $4 million on President Obama's 2008 campaign and $15 million on political ad campaigns to support the president's re-election, according to the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that tracks data on political spending.
Although McDermott said the IRS "unfairly scrutinized" the organizations and noted its "foolish account management and dangerously careless shortcuts," he called the hearings "political theatre" and claimed that no harm was done because the organizations were not silenced or kept from organizing. He also said it was questionable whether any of the organizations the IRS targeted deserved to have tax exempt status.
Amber MacDonald, communications director for the legislator, told CP that the message McDermott wanted to convey at the hearing was that "the IRS has a job to do" and they must find out "who is or is not in compliance with C3 and C4 tax exempt status."
McDermott also appeard on MSNBC's "Politics Nation" with the Rev. Al Sharpton Tuesday, to discuss what he believes is his Republican colleagues' search for a conspiracy where none exists.