Sen. McConnell: No Wonder IRS Union Workers Got Caught Targeting Tea Party

By Melanie Arter | June 25, 2013 | 11:06 AM EDT

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) (AP Photo)

( – Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Friday said it should come as no surprise that the IRS has been targeting the Tea Party, especially when the head of the union that represented unionized IRS workers publicly maligned them.

“Why would we even expect a public employee, whose union more or less exists to grow the government to treat someone who opposes that goal to a fair hearing? When the head of the union that represents unionized IRS workers publicly vilifies the Tea Party, is it any wonder that members of the union would get caught targeting them?” McConnell said in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute on Friday.

If the player does not load, please check that you are running the latest version of Adobe Flash Player.

While McConnell said he doesn’t believe the president actually ordered the IRS targeting, the senator said the president didn’t have to.

“No, I don’t believe that the president ever picked up the phone and told somebody over at IRS to slow-walk these applications or audit anybody, but the truth is, he didn’t have to. He didn’t have to do that,” McConnell said.

“The message was clear enough, but if the message was clear, the media must also perfectly suit it to the cause,” McConnell added.

“The federal bureaucracy, and in particular, the growth of public sector unions has created an inherent and undeniable tension between those who believe in limited self-government and those who tend to benefit from the growth of government,” he said.

“When elected leaders and union bosses tell the folks who work at these agencies that they should view half the American people as being a threat to democracy, it shouldn’t surprise any of us that they would look at it that way,” McConnell said.

The Kentucky senator accused unionized federal employees of conspiring with Congress to expand their powers and “endlessly increase the budgets that finance them.”

“Over the past several decades, the same public employees who arrogated vast powers to themselves have conspired with their patrons in Congress to expand those powers even more and to endlessly increase the budgets that finance them,” he said.

“This isn’t done in the interest of serving taxpayers – it’s done in the interest of fleecing them, because that’s what happens when politicians start competing for the support of public sector unions,” McConnell said. “They stop serving the interest of people who elected them and start serving the interest of the government they’re supposed to be keeping in check.”

McConnell pointed to news last week that unionized IRS employees are about to get $70 million in bonuses and accused the IRS union of “thumbing its nose at the American people.”

“It’s telling them in the clearest possible terms that it doesn’t care about this scandal or how well the government works or how well it’s even serving the public. All it cares about is helping union workers get theirs,” McConnell said.

McConnell called public sector unions “a 50-year mistake.”

“It’s pure arrogance, and it reflects a sense of entitlement better suited to aristocracy than to a nation of constitutional self-government, so it’s increasingly appropriate to ask whose interest these public sector unions have in mind - the taxpayers or their own? And on this question, I’m with Jonah Goldberg – public sector unions are a 50-year mistake,” he said.