GOP leader warns of attacks on free speech

Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn, John Barrasso

FILE – In this June 18, 2013, photo, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky.. accompanied by Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, right, and Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., gestures as he speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. McConnell says the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups’ applications for tax-exempt status is just one example of the government attacking free speech on President Barack Obama’s watch. He accuses the administration of pitting bureaucrats against the Americans they’re supposed to serve in several other agencies. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate Republican leader, who last year accused the Obama administration of Nixon-style dirty tricks, says the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups is part of a broader government assault on free speech.

Seizing on the spate of controversies besetting the White House, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky says the American people are recognizing a pattern that encompasses government agencies, the administration and its allies in Congress, left-wing groups and public-employee unions and their coordinated attack on First Amendment rights.

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