Reality Check: Obama on IRS scandal

Published: Dec. 12, 2013 at 2:46 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 12, 2013 at 3:16 AM EST
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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - President Obama appeared on 'Hardball' over the weekend, and in response to a question from host Chris Matthews regarding a recent poll that found a majority of Americans don't trust him, Obama pointed to the IRS scandal in Cincinnati as one of the reasons why.

The president said that it is his belief that scrutiny of conservative groups by employees at the local IRS office was a result of the complexity of the tax code, saying quote:

"You've got an office in Cincinnati in the IRS office that I think for bureaucratic reasons is trying to streamline what is a difficult a difficult law to interpret about whether non-profit is actually a political organization deserves a tax-exempt agency and they've got a list and suddenly everyone's outraged."

President Obama also asserted that the media has made more of the story than it deserves:

"If we do something that is perceived at least initially as a screw-up, it will be on the nightly news for a week."

If true, how then does he explain why former Cincinnati IRS Director Lois Lerner, (called to Washington to testify on allegations of discrimination against Tea Party and other conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status), declared her own innocence just before pleading the Fifth Amendment? And how does the president explain the fact that the House Oversight Committee, which has been investigating whether or not any laws were broken, has yet to close its investigation into the practices at the Cincinnati IRS office? Or why is Chairman Darrell Issa now accusing the FBI of "impeding" the investigation?

One thing is certain: this is a story that FOX19 will continue to closely follow.