“I’d like to be the first one to welcome the press as part of the tea party moment,” he said, suggesting that reporters’ vulnerability to government overreach should sound familiar.
The IRS and Justice matters also provide tea partyers the opening to discuss the systemic failures of a too-large government, which could appeal to libertarian-minded allies who might not have bought into the movement earlier on.
“We need to simplify our laws, and we need to downsize the federal government,” said Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, on Thursday morning.
Tea party activists say they wouldn’t have wished for bad things to happen, especially the four deaths of Americans in Benghazi, Libya, last September — another issue congressional Republicans are investigating with fervor.
It doesn’t mean, though, that they will pass on the opportunity to use all three events as leverage, as tea party ally Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., suggested.
“To the extent that the Benghazi scandal, the AP scandal, the IRS scandal, has provided the fuel necessary to rekindle the tea party fire,” Mulvaney said, “I got no problem with that.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.