Reid: ‘Where Was Their Outrage When Groups on the Other Side of the Political Spectrum Were Under Attack’?

By Melanie Arter | May 14, 2013 | 4:56 PM EDT

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (AP Photo/Las Vegas Sun, Steve Marcus)

( – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) reacted to Republican outrage at the IRS targeting of conservative groups Tuesday, saying that when the Internal Revenue Service targeted liberal organizations, “we didn’t hear a single Republican grandstand the issue then.”

“It wasn’t long ago that the IRS inappropriately targeted the NAACP, Greenpeace, and a California church which was really progressive, called the All Saints Church in Pasadena, Calif. It was interesting. At that time, we didn’t hear a single Republican grandstand the issue then. Where was their outrage when groups on the other side of the political spectrum were under attack?” Reid asked.

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“What the IRS did, of course, is inexcusable, but this is not the first time we’ve seen this,” he said.

“I believe we need to take action to stop this inappropriate behavior within the Internal Revenue Service. I believed it then – I believe it now,” Reid said, adding that he has asked the Finance Committee chairman to hold hearings on what should be done.

First, the committee needs to wait until the inspector general’s report is completed, Reid said, which is expected to be within a week or 10 days.

Reid went on to bash “shadowy political groups masquerading as social welfare organizations in order to solicit anonymous donations from we don’t know who – big corporations and also wealthy people.”

“That needs to stop,” he said.

Reid then criticized Karl Rove, former deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush.

“What has Karl Rove ever done to improve the social welfare of the United States? That’s what these shadowy organizations are supposed to do. That’s what their charter says. His organizations, Rove’s organizations have one purpose and one purpose only, and that’s to defeat Democrats, Anyone who thinks otherwise is being willfully foolish,” Reid said.

“Preventing overtly political groups like the ones run by Karl Rove from masquerading as social welfare, social welfare organizations is really a critically important task – whether these groups are on the left or on the right. But the IRS may not be the right organization to perform the task, but perhaps what we haven’t done leaves that organization as the only one we have to look to,” he added.

Reid also criticized the GOP for “talking about everything but pocketbook issues.”