Sunday shows round-up: All about the IRS and Benghazi

This week's Sunday shows were unsurprisingly dominated by the IRS and Benghazi controversies

By Jillian Rayfield
Published May 19, 2013 9:16PM (UTC)
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This week's Sunday shows focused on the latest revelations in the Benghazi and IRS controversies. Here are the highlights:

On the IRS scandal:

Dan Pfeiffer, a senior adviser to President Obama, addressed the IRS scandal, saying that the law is "irrelevant" though the actions of the IRS were "outrageous and inexcusable."


“I can’t speak to the law here. The law is irrelevant,” he said on ABC's This Week. “The activity was outrageous and inexcusable, and it was stopped and it needs to be fixed to ensure it never happens again.”

When pressed by host George Stephanopoulos, Pfeiffer explained: “What I mean is, whether it’s legal or illegal is not important to the fact that the conduct doesn’t matter. The Department of Justice has said that they’re looking into the legality of this. The president is not going to wait for that. We have to make sure it does not happen again, regardless of how that turns out.”

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on the other hand, said that he cannot believe that the misconduct by IRS employees was so limited in scope. “I can’t believe that one agent sort of started this,” he said on CNN’s State of the Union. “It seems too widespread.”


Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said the IRS scandal is just the latest in the Obama Administration's "culture of cover-ups," adding on CBS's Face The Nation that if Obama didn't know about it, it was because of "willful ignorance."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., thought it showed a different kind of culture, a "culture of intimidation" in the White House. He said on NBC's Meet The Press that the IRS scandal is “just the most recent example" of this and shows “an attitude that the government knows best: The nanny state is here to tell us all what to do. And if we start criticizing, you get targeted.”

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., agreed that it shows "big government cronyism."


“Look, people have no trust that their government is being impartial,” he said on Fox News Sunday. “This is arrogance of power, abuse of power, to the nth degree, and we're going to get to the bottom of this.”

Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, argued that the IRS scandal demonstrates the need for tax reform. “A lot of people feel the tax code is broken,” he said on Meet The Press. “It’s not fair, it’s inefficient, it’s so complex. The average family should be able to fill out their own tax forms and file them. They can’t now. It takes the average American 13 hours to comply with the code.”


On Benghazi:

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, called for the White House to release more documents on the attacks. "People deserve the truth and the families deserve the truth," Chaffetz said on Face The Nation. "I can't imagine that this administration would say those same things about what happened in Boston where we had four people killed by a terrorist."

Mitch McConnell said on Meet The Press that the Obama Administration “made up a tale” about the attacks in Benghazi because it “was inconvenient within six weeks of the election for the administration to, in effect, announce that it was a terrorist attack.”


But Dan Pfeiffer said on ABC's This Week that the latest revelations about the Benghazi talking points show that Republican owe Susan Rice an apology. “Frankly, I think that many of the Republicans who had been talking about this, now that they’ve seen the emails, owe Ambassador Rice an apology for the things they’ve said about her in the wake of the attack,” he said.

On the Associated Press subpoenas:

Associated Press President and CEO Gary Pruitt said on Face The Nation that the Department of Justice's subpoena of the AP's phone records was unconstitutional. "Their rules require them to come to us first," he said, adding that they "can't understand why" the DOJ didn't. "It will hurt journalism," Pruitt said. "We are already seeing some impact."


And Salon contributor Steve Kornacki discussed the implications of these controversies on the 2014 midterms, among other things. Watch:

Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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Associated Press Benghazi Dan Pfeiffer Irs Libya Mitch Mcconnell Paul Ryan Rand Paul Sunday Shows Video White House