Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell fought the good fight on campaign finance reform and freedom of political speech under the First Amendment. Now he's taking up the good fight on the IRS and freedom of political speech under the First Amendment.

The IRS targeted for special consideration -- i.e. bureaucratic harassment -- more than 200 conservative, Tea Party and evangelical groups seeking non-profit tax exemption during the 2010 and 2012 election campaigns.

Without that tax status, the ability of those groups to fund their participation in the political process was handicapped.

Then came the denials

After IRS officials admitted in 2013 that the targeting and harassment had occurred, President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder condemned the actions, promised to find the wrong-doers and vowed to punish them appropriately.

More recently, Obama has called the IRS actions a "phony scandal" and Holder appointed a career Justice Department attorney with a long record as a Democratic contributor to head up the "investigation" of the scandal.

Nobody was surprised a few weeks ago when unnamed Justice Department officials said they don't expect to prosecute anybody in the IRS scandal.

Now comes McConnell

Seeing all this, McConnell is now putting pressure on John Koskinen, the new IRS Commissioner, to withdraw a proposed regulation that would make the targeting and harassment of government critics a permanent feature of the tax agency's regulatory processes.

McConnell told Fox News' Megyn Kelly regarding Koskinen recently that he wants "to see a statesman over there at the IRS. He got recently confirmed by the Senate. I had a conversation with him about this subject. We're counting on him not to be used by this White House to carry out their political agenda of quieting their critics."

For further details of what is at stake in this growing furor, see Sunday's Washington Examiner editorial, "IRS chief should drop new rule that would silence non-profits."

On today's

Editorial: It's time to fix the broken federal budget process.

Op-eds/Matt Patterson: UAW imports union thuggery to Tennessee VW plant.

Columnist/James Jay Carafano: Don't look to Obama for the path to economic opportunity.

Columnist/Hugh Hewitt: Lessons from a few days broadcasting in frozen D.C.

Columnist/Scott Rasmussen: Numbers show D.C. theory colliding with America's reality.

Columnist/Michael Barone: The Democratic class of 1974 passes from the scene.

In other news

CBS News: More documents, more questions in Chris Christie scandal.

The New York Times: Battles over state budgets loom across the country.

USA Today: Hillary Clinton zings Fox News with Super Bowl tweet.

The Washington Post: Appeals of Obamacare website errors go unresolved.

The Los Angeles Times: Medi-Cal seen as relief from some, Obamacare burden for others.

NBC News: People are eating cats in Syrian refugee camps.

Righty Playbook

The Weekly Standard: Rumors of al Qaeda's demise are greatly exaggerated.

National Review Online: ABC's slime-time news.

The American Conservative: Five ways Reagan nostalgia misleads conservatives.

Bonus must-read

The Federalist: A (lame) duck dynasty?

Lefty Playbook

Mother Jones: U.S. abortion rate hits 30-year low.

New Republic: The loneliness of Vladimir Putin.

The American Prospect: Reports of Obama's political demise are greatly exaggerated, too.

Bonus must-read

The Huffington Post: 9/11 truther crashes Super Bowl awards.

Blog Right

TaxProf Blog: Is tax policy the cause, cure or irrelevant to growing income inequality.

Wizbang: NY fireman tell Cuomo to stop using them as excuse for gun grabbing.

Yid With Lid: Barry Rubin, my friend, my teacher, has passed away.

Blog Left

Talking Points Memo: GOP now key to gay marriage fight.

Hullabaloo: Philip Seymour Hoffman passed too soon.

America Blog: Welcome to the Christie Super Subpoena Bowl.