A new development in the IRS targeting story: St. Louis KMOV reporter Larry Conners claims he was “hammered” and “pressured” by the IRS after he asked President Obama some difficult questions in an April 2012 interview.
Conners is bringing this alleged IRS harassment to the forefront now that the agency has admitted to and apologized for targeting Tea Party and other politically conservative groups for special scrutiny when these groups applied for non-profit, tax-exempt status.
The Tea Party scrutiny admission from the IRS has set off a firestorm of controversy and calls for a wide-ranging federal investigation from both sides of the political aisle.
During the interview last April which created some buzz on the internet, Conners asked the president if he was out of touch with the average American struggling to make ends meet given his five-star vacations taken at least partially on the taxpayer’s dime. See embed below. Obama appeared to bristle at the question.
Larry Conners maintains that the president became angry and afterward Conner got the cold shoulder from the White House staff. At the time this interview was conducted, it was unusual for the news media to pose pointed questions to President Obama in stark contrast to the treatment his predecessor received from the press. One journalist even admitted that reporters “swoon” in Obama’s presence.
On his Facebook page today, Conner wrote the following about the aftermath of the presidential interview: “I don’t accept ‘conspiracy theories,’ but I do know that almost immediately after the interview, the IRS started hammering me. At the time, I dismissed the ‘co-incidence,’ but now, I have concerns … after revelations about the IRS targeting various groups and their members …”
Added Conners about possibly being targeted by the IRS: “What I don’t like to even consider … is that because of the Obama interview … the IRS put a target on me. Can I prove it? At this time, no. But it is a fact that since that April 2012 interview … the IRS has been pressuring me.”
The veteran reporter has yet to explain what he means by hammering or pressure, but presumably this might relate to a detailed and unusually intrusive IRS audit of his tax return.
Conners further explained on Facebook that “My job is to ask the hard questions, because I believe viewers have a right to be well-informed. I cannot and will not promote anyone’s agenda — political or otherwise — at the expense of the reporting the truth.”
Watch a clip from Larry Conners’ interview with President Obama: