The Buzz

TheChat: Pat Roberts takes aim (again) at the IRS


Good morning.

▪ “We have an arm of the federal government that is complicit in an effort to deny a free and open society as guaranteed by the First Amendment.” — Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, a Republican, commenting Wednesday on a long-awaited Senate report on how the IRS handled tea party groups seeking tax-exempt status.

Republicans and Democrats couldn’t agree on whether the agency intentionally targeted conservative groups. But Roberts was unbowed: “Kansans are fed-up with these scandals and what they view as a clear abuse of power by the Obama administration. They are demanding accountability. The targeting of Americans for their political beliefs tramples on our First Amendment rights.”

▪ “300.” — the number of town hall meetings that Kansas Congressman Tim Huelskamp says he’s attended in his sprawling western Kansas 1st District since taking office five years ago.

Huelskamp’s staff pointed out in an email to reporters that someone, somewhere reported that the conservative Republican has attended more town hall meetings than any other member of the House. Regular appearances at town hall meetings is a 1st District tradition that extends to former Congressmen Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts.

▪ “59.” — the percentage of Americans in a new Pew Research Center Poll who say more changes are needed to give blacks and whites equal rights.

That’s up from 46 percent who said in 2014, prior to Ferguson, that more changes were needed. Lots of new poll findings are out this week as the nation girds itself for the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown’s death.

▪ “I don’t believe there will be a shutdown of government.” — Kansas Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins, a Republican who serves in GOP leadership.

There’s been lots of talk that a shutdown will happen in late September over funding of Planned Parenthood, an organization that’s mired in controversy these days. But Jenkins thinks the GOP will walk away from that kind of showdown, which has hurt the party politically in the past.