A spokesman for Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell attacked the Department of Justice for using its Office of Public Affairs to collude with left-wing advocacy organization Media Matters for America on Wednesday.
“The leader has said that the best way to address these types of actions is to change the administration,” McConnell spokesman Don Stewart told The Daily Caller. “And the bottom line is this: If the Justice Department had spent as much time getting to the bottom of Fast & Furious as it has on this, it wouldn’t have taken so long to start getting some real answers.”
McConnell has been an outspoken critic of political groups like Media Matters operating under tax-exempt statuses.
Last week, TheDC published a series of emails, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, that show Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs Director Tracy Schmaler and Media Matters staffers working together on posts that attack reporters covering DOJ scandals, as well as other administration critics.
House oversight committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa said the email evidence laying out the targets resemble former President Richard Nixon’s “enemies list.”
“Not since Richard Nixon have we seen a president who puts together an enemies list and has a whole team pursuing it,” Issa said in a Fox News appearance. “That’s what’s happened in this administration. It’s sad. It’s not the America I want to see going forward. I sincerely hope that after the election, regardless, the American people will have made a statement that they won’t tolerate this.”
South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, a member of Issa’s committee, promised hearings on the coordination in the near future, too, and many other congressmen have called for congressional investigations into the matter — and specifically why Media Matters is granted the tax-exempt status it currently has.
Tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code allows donors to claim income-tax deductions for their contributions, and also exempts Media Matters itself from paying federal taxes on its income. The status is typically reserved for organizations that don’t engage in excessive partisan politicking.
Several of the targets of Schmaler’s communications with Media Matters have called for her to resign or be fired, including now-former DOJ official Chris Coates — who at the time Schmaler seemingly worked against him was a current DOJ employee. Others have demanded that she be investigated for potential violations of the Whistleblower Protection Act.
Media Matters has not commented on these reports. The DOJ and Schmaler have also declined to comment.