Chuck Todd on IRS Scandal: ‘Are There Any Actual Real Victims?’

Chuck Todd, NBC’s Political Director, Chief White House Correspondent, and host of The Daily Rundown on MSNBC did his best to deflect from the IRS scandal by wondering if “there are any actual real victims’ of the IRS targeting of conservative groups.”

Appearing on MSNBC's The Daily Rundown on Wednesday morning, Todd insisted that “the question at hand is whether explicitly political organizations should be filing as tax exempt social welfare groups under the tax code” and suggested that such groups weren’t deserving of such tax exempt status at all. [See video below.]  

Todd began by arguing that the scandal surrounding the IRS ignores the larger problem at hand:

The controversy surrounding IRS may be more than a year old but of course we're still talking about it. On Monday the IRS Commissioner testified before Congress. A week after the IRS told Senate investigators that two years of e-mails disappeared in a computer crash back in 2011. While this certainly doesn't make the Obama administration nor the IRS look very good, it's important to remember what this actual story is about because it's gotten lost. 

The MSNBC host continued to question whether social welfare groups should even have tax exempt status: 

Why should primarily political organizations get a taxpayer exemption, basically get a handout from the tax code? Both sides are in an uproar because they couldn't take advantage of a borderline shady way to raise money for political purposes or launder money for political purposes. So while the IRS is certainly not a good guy here they have been terrible about being forthcoming.

The NBC Political Director concluded his “Takeaway” segment by suggesting that not only no “real victims” exist in the IRS scandal but that these social welfare groups are to blame: 

Folks, this scandal is not black and white since frankly two wrongs don't make a right. We know what really is working here for Republicans. Beating up the IRS, good for the base. Good politics there makes for great fundraising e-mails. But let's remember what the controversy itself is about.   

See relevant transcript below. 


MSNBC's The Daily Rundown

June 25, 2014

9:56 a.m. Eastern 

CHUCK TODD: Time now for my “Takeaway.” The controversy surrounding IRS may be more than a year old but of course we're still talking about it. On Monday, the IRS Commissioner testified before Congress. A week after the IRS told Senate investigators that two years of e-mails disappeared in a computer crash back in 2011. While this certainly doesn't make the Obama administration nor the IRS look very good, it's important to remember what this actual story is about because it's gotten lost.

The question at hand is whether explicitly political organizations should be filing as tax exempt social welfare groups under the tax code and both political parties are pointing blame. Republicans say that just conservative-sounding groups were targeted by the IRS. That's why they want to see the e-mails. Democrats have responded by claiming, hey, liberal groups were targeted, too. But here is the story many are missing. Why should primarily political organizations get a taxpayer exemption, basically get a handout from the tax code? Both sides are in an uproar because they couldn't take advantage of a borderline shady way to raise money for political purposes or launder money for political purposes.

So while the IRS is certainly not a good guy here they have been terrible about being forthcoming. Are there any actual real victims? Folks, this scandal is not black and white since frankly two wrongs don't make a right. We know what really is working here for Republicans. Beating up the IRS, good for the base. Good politics there makes for great fundraising e-mails. But let's remember what the controversy itself is about.

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.