As if the IRS and Benghazi weren’t enough, Washington is abuzz this morning with a third controversy: The Justice Department’s secret seizure of phone records from the Associated Press reporters. The AP says the Justice Department obtained two months of phone records – office, home and cell – without notice, which the AP is calling a “serious interference [with its] constitutional rights to gather and report the news.” The Justice Department is investigating who leaked information about the CIA’s disruption of a Yemen-based terror plot and the the timing of the phone records seizure fits into that investigation.
The scandal at the IRS: Critics say the IRS has been uneven in its scrutiny of tax-exempt groups. Big groups that spend millions of dollars like those run by Karl Rove and former administration officials have largely escaped heightened scrutiny while smaller Tea Party groups were singled out. And Politico reports on how the scandal will surely leave the IRS more impotent against the rise of anonymous political cash, the main result of the Citizens United case.
Supporters say President Obama’s response yesterday to the IRS scandal wasn’t tough enough, but there is a playbook for the White House to regain some control over the growing crisis.
The New York Times reports on how – for one Republican congressman – the seeds of doubt on Benghazi were sown on a whirlwind trip to Libya less than a month after the attack.
As President Obama’s troubles pile up, he told supporters at a Manhattan fundraiser last night that – despite the hyper-partisanship of Washington – he intends to govern.
Finally, from the department of scandals past: Anthony Weiner is hiring staff ahead of a possible mayoral run in New York.