Time’s Joe Klein wrote that the IRS scandal places President Obama “on the same page as Richard Nixon.” How so? Well, the articles of impeachment drafted for Nixon cited his misuse of the IRS to target political enemies.
From Article II of the Articles of Impeachment adopted by the House Judiciary Committee (emphasis added):
He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavoured to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposed not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.
There’s no indication that the IRS issue will rise to that level of scandal. President Obama said Monday that he first learned that IRS officials were being investigated about targeting conservative groups for special audits on Friday. (White House press secretary Jay Carney clarified that the White House was notified in general terms that an investigation was under way in April, but it did not know the nature of the misconduct.)
Still, such a historical curiosity gives basis for Republican attacks on Obama, at a minimum. “It harkens back to the days of Richard Nixon and maintaining a political enemies list and treating the federal government as a tool to exact the administration’s retribution,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told National Review on Monday.