When Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) was anointed last month by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to lead yet another congressional investigation of Benghazi, the second-term tea party congressman, a former prosecutor, was hailed by his Republican colleagues as an evenhanded lawmaker who had no political ax to grind in this endeavor. Boehner called him "serious-minded" and cited his "zeal for the truth." Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) praised him as "cerebral" and said "he has a great capacity to work through an investigation and come to a fair conclusion." And Gowdy himself vowed, "We're going to go wherever the facts take us. Facts are neither Republican nor Democrat. They are facts."
Yet when it comes to another conservative crusade, the supposed-IRS scandal, Gowdy has not been so dispassionate and judicious. As a member of the House government oversight committee led by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), which has mounted the main congressional inquiry into this matter, Gowdy has publicly suggested that the vetting of political groups conducted by an IRS office in Cincinnati was part of a scheme hatched in Washington to benefit President Barack Obama and the Democrats. And he has done so without presenting facts to prove this assertion.
On March 4, Gowdy appeared on Fox News, and anchor Bill Hemmer asked, "if you aren't convinced that this did not start in the Cincinnati office, where did it come from?" Gowdy didn't wait a beat:
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"Washington, DC. Keep in mind Bill, you remember the State of the Union, where the president famously chastised the supreme court for their decision in Citizens United? And to their face at the State of the Union. Democrats don't like that opinion, and they immediately started a project. And that's not my word, that's [Lois Lerner's] word. They started a project to unravel Citizens United because they are tired of outside groups going after Democrats. This was orchestrated, it was planned, and we'll prove it tomorrow."