Resignation calls fly at Justice Dept. spokeswoman over Media Matters collaboration

Another target, Townhall magazine news editor Katie Pavlich, said Schmaler should resign or be fired. Schmaler, she said, should also be “investigated for violating the Whistleblower Protection Act by using Media Matters to retaliate against Adams and Coates.”

Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Franks told TheDC that Schmaler’s conduct is indicative of the Obama administration’s efforts to distract the public and attack critics in the face of Operation Fast and Furious, and other agency scandals. (RELATED: Fox News: Justice Dept. thinks its collaboration with Media Matters ‘not a big deal’)

“When the truth isn’t on one’s side — and it isn’t on the Administration’s side, as it pertains to Operation Fast and Furious — one has a limited number of options: face the truth or attempt to suppress it,” Franks said in an email.

“This Administration has, perhaps unsurprisingly, chosen the latter. Attacking whistleblowers, including veteran Department employees, is not conduct befitting of the United States Justice Department, and raises serious questions about Ms. Schmaler’s ability to adequately perform her professional duties, as well as questions about whether she acted under the orders of her superiors.”

Franks said revelations in the collection of emails TheDC published Tuesday should lead Congress to investigate whether Media Matters is eligible to continue operating under the tax-exempt status it currently enjoys.

“The briefest survey of Media Matters’ website makes it clear the organization has a firm commitment to advancing a narrative that benefits President Obama’s campaign,” Franks said. “Between the consistent slant of the site’s ‘research’ and recent stories indicating the organization worked directly with the Obama Administration to actively target reporters who dared criticize the Administration’s disgracefully botched handling of Operation Fast and Furious, an investigation into Media Matters’ 501(c)(3) status is more than warranted.”

Arizona Republican Rep. Ben Quayle echoed Franks’ concerns about the DOJ’s coordination with Media Matters.

“This administration — they’re propagandists,” Quayle said in a phone interview. “They try to use their allies within the media, and knowing that Media Matters does have a tremendous amount of sway within the liberal media — because, many times, anchors are just reading reports coming off Media Matters — they’re using it as a way of intimidation.”

“Does this violate any whistleblower protection laws that are out there?” Quayle asked. “I think this is a very serious matter that needs to be investigated.”

“Another thing I think that needs to be talked about is, ‘How does Media Matters justify their 501(c)3 status right now?'” Quayle added.

Tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, which Media Matters enjoys, allows its donors to claim income-tax deductions for their contributions, and also exempts Media Matters itself from paying federal tax on its income. That status is typically reserved for organizations that don’t engage in excessive partisan politicking. (RELATED: TheDC’s complete coverage of Media Matters)