House Democrats with financial ties to a union representing Internal Revenue Service workers have gone to great lengths to defend the IRS during the investigation into its targeting of conservative groups, a new Washington Free Beacon video shows.
The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) has long given almost exclusively to Democratic Party candidates. Meanwhile, the Democratic recipients on committees investigating the scandal have used their platforms to do everything from apologizing to acting commissioner John Koskinen for being treated rudely by Republicans to blaming the targeting on budget cuts.
Ranking member of the House oversight committee Rep. Elijah Cummings (D., Md.) was overcome with emotion June 23 while thanking Koskinen for his testimony on Lois Lerner's missing emails and having to "go through this hell" for the agency. Cummings received $2,000 from the NTEU in 2012 and another $1,000 for 2014, according to Open Secrets.
The NTEU donated $5,000 to Rep. Gerry Connolly (D., Va.) for the 2012 election cycle, one of its biggest to non-members of party leadership, followed by another $2,000 thus far for 2014. When Koskinen told him June 23 that the IRS was given "significantly less" than it needed for its budget, Connolly responded, "That's amazing, given our concern … that we wouldn't be providing you with resources to try to turn this around and make sure this kind of thing doesn't happen again."
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D., Ore.), recipient of $1,000 in 2012 from the union, launched into a tirade during his time with Koskinen against "my Republican colleagues" for "cutting your budget" at a Ways and Means Committee hearing June 2o. Similarly, Rep. Sander Levin (D., Mich.), who received $2,000 for the 2012 cycle, criticized Congress for cutting the IRS budget on IT, and Rep. Jose Serrano (D., N.Y.) ($3,000 in 2012 and $1,000 in 2014) also said he viewed IRS budget cuts as troublesome last year, claiming further cuts would only lead to more scandals.
Rep. John Lewis (D., Ga.), received $1,000 for 2012 and $2,000 for 2014, Rep. Jackie Speier (D., Calif.) received $2,000 in 2012 and Washington, D.C. delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton received $1,000 from the NTEU in 2012. All three of them apologized to Koskinen for his treatment at the hearings or denounced Republicans for questioning him too aggressively.
In total, the union donated $391,062 to House Democrats in 2012, compared to $23,000 for House Republicans. So far for the 2014 cycle, it has given $66,300 to House Democrats and just $3,000 to House Republicans.