By Matthew Boyle
Appearing on NRA News' "The Daily News with Ginny Simone," South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy said hearings are planned concerning the Department of Justice's use of taxpayer resources to smear its critics by colluding with left-wing advocacy organization Media Matters for America.
Gowdy's promise of hearings comes after The Daily Caller this week published a series of emails, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, that show the Justice Department's Office of Public Affairs director Tracy Schmaler and Media Matters staffers working together to attack reporters covering Justice Department scandals and other administration critics.
"My guess is, this won't be the last we hear about that," Gowdy said when Simone first asked him to respond to the news of their collusion. "[House oversight committee chairman Darrell] Issa is the chairman, and he can do what he wants."
Issa has already said the coordination demonstrates that President Barack Obama has an "enemies list," just like former President Richard Nixon.
"Not since Richard Nixon have we seen a president who puts together an enemies list and has a whole team pursuing it," Issa said this week on Fox News. "That's what's happened in this administration. It's sad. It's not the America I want to see going forward. I sincerely hope that after the election, regardless, the American people will have made a statement that they won't tolerate this."
Issa also said he expects Congress to start digging into this issue and look into whether advocacy organizations masquerading as fair nonprofits, like Media Matters for America, might lose their tax-exempt status. Victims of the collusion have openly called for Schmaler to lose her job.
Tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, which Media Matters enjoys, allows its donors to claim income-tax deductions for their contributions, and also exempts Media Matters itself from paying federal tax on its income. That status is typically reserved for organizations that don't engage in excessive partisan politicking.
Gowdy told Simone that he's "delighted to know they [the DOJ] took time away from suing my home state of South Carolina to do something other than plan their next lawsuit. But, I'm very disappointed that they took time away to try to coordinate with the media on how to embarrass some of us who have been critical of them."
"I promise you, we are going to have a nice, full public hearing on that [the collusion between Media Matters and DOJ]," Gowdy added.