The Washington Post

Florida GOP chairman urges lawmakers to exploit IRS scandal

Florida Republican Party Chairman Lenny Curry has a simple message for House lawmakers when it comes to the ongoing Internal Revenue Service scandal: Use it to your political advantage.

In a blunt memo addressed to 17 Republican House members, Curry outlines how the current uproar over IRS employees' behavior could hurt Democrats in 2014.

"Let there be no mistake, the IRS wields considerable power. It touches the lives of millions of Americans. And once ObamaCare comes into effect, the IRS will have an even broader scope, affecting every American," the memo states. "We need to play big, bold hardball now. This is an opportunity where good politics and good policy intersect well."

The state party chairman even offers specific tips on how to bring up the topic while out on the campaign trail.

"I encourage you to use this in your campaigns," he states, in a bold-print section. "When you're on the trail, ask your Democrat opponents: Are you comfortable with the IRS overseeing your health care? Why? Would you hold the Obama administration responsible for their hand in the IRS scandal? How?"

While many other Republicans leaders may not be this straightforward — with the possible exception of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) — it's a safe bet that they're thinking the same thing.

Juliet Eilperin is The Washington Post's White House bureau chief, covering domestic and foreign policy as well as the culture of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. She is the author of two books—one on sharks, and another on Congress, not to be confused with each other—and has worked for the Post since 1998.

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