Rogers: IRS Targeting of Conservative Groups Is ‘Thuggery’

'This is criminal activity. There's really no other way to look at it'

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Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Mich.) blasted the IRS' acknowledgment that the agency actively targeted Tea Party organizations in 2012 Friday on "Closing Bell."

Rogers reacted to the revelation by stating the apparent political persecution by some the IRS is outrageous and almost certainly criminal activity:

MARIA BARTIROMO: But first, let me put that aside for a moment. Because I want to get your reaction to the news, the hot news story of the day. And that is, the IRS today is admitting and apologizing for inappropriately targeting conservative groups leading up to election. They wanted more information, you know —

MIKE ROGERS: Absolutely outrageous. This is criminal activity. There's really no other way to look at it. You cannot have a government organization targeting groups because of their political beliefs. This ought to send shivers down every American's spine. I don't care if you're not conservative or you are conservative, this is dangerous, when a government entity believes that they have the responsibility to go out and target groups because of their political beliefs. This is very dangerous.

MARIA BARTIROMO: It sounds like thuggery.

MIKE ROGERS: It is thuggery. And think about – the IRS has even more latitude about getting your information than other law enforcement groups. You know, the FBI couldn't go and get certain pieces of information without a warrant or a subpoena. The IRS has information, without any of that. And there is requirements that you pay your taxes so you don't have the same kind of due process protections. That's why this is so dangerous. I imagine there will be full-blown investigations in Congress. Somebody needs to be held accountable.

Congressman Rogers is not the only member of the GOP expressing outrage.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) issued a statement saying "an apology" by the IRS will not suffice for the transgression:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said the IRS’ acknowledgement was "not enough" and called on the White House to conduct a government-wide review "aimed at assuring the American people that these thuggish practices are not underway at the IRS or elsewhere in the administration against anyone, regardless of their political views."

"Make no mistake, an apology won’t put this issue to rest," McConnell said in a statement. "Now more than ever we need to send a clear message to the Obama administration that the First Amendment is non-negotiable, and that apologies after an election year are not a sufficient response to what we now know took place at the IRS. This kind of political thuggery has absolutely no place in our politics."

The IRS claims politics did not play a role in selecting certain groups for scrutiny, despite the Friday admission by an IRS official that organizations who used terms "Tea Party" and "patriot" in their tax documents were targeted:

"Mistakes were made initially, but they were in no way due to any political or partisan rationale," the IRS said in a statement following the report.

Full interview:

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