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IRS Battle Turns Ugly: Former Obama Adviser Revives Decades-Old Allegations, Calls Issa a 'Suspected Arsonist' and 'Insurance Swindler

After Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) labeled Jay Carney a "paid liar" and charged that the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative groups was likely directed from someone in Washington, D.C., David Plouffe, a former Obama adviser, responded -- via Twitter. And he took some intense personal jabs at the congressman.

The back-and-forth started on Sunday, as TheBlaze previously reported. Issa, speaking explicitly about the IRS scandal, lashed out at the White House's handling of the situation.

"The administration is still — their paid liar, their spokesperson, picture behind — he’s still making up things about what happens and calling this local rogue," Issa said on Sunday's edition of CNN’s “State of the Union.” “The reason that [IRS administrator] Lois Lerner tried to take the Fifth [Amendment] isn’t because there’s a rogue in Cincinnati, it’s because this is a problem that was coordinated, in all likelihood, right out of Washington headquarters and we’re getting to proving it.”

President Barack Obama, center, walks with Anita Dunn, debate prep advisor, right, and David Plouffe, senior White House advisor, at Kingsmill Resort, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, in Williamsburg, Va. Credit: AP

Plouffe didn't take too kindly to these comments. In fact, the former Obama campaign manager took to Twitter and brought up some old allegations that were once waged against Issa.

"Strong words from Mr Grand Theft Auto and suspected arsonist/insurance swindler," Plouffe wrote. "And loose ethically today."

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/davidplouffe/status/341313483184414720"]

The initial charge -- and the response from Plouffe -- offer a rare glimpse into uninhibited and public spats between political figures. Considering the severity of the former Obama administration official's claims, one wonders: Do his charges have any validity?

CNN provides some background about Issa's past:

In 1972, then-19-year-old Issa too was arrested under suspicion of stealing a car, but Issa claims it was a case of mistaken identity and the charges were ultimately dropped.

In 1982, the office and factory of two companies Issa had purchased, Quantum Enterprises and Steal Stopper International, caught on fire. The insurance company's investigation found "suspicious burn patterns" and company officials noted that in the month before the fire Issa had increased his insurance from $100,000 to $462,000. As the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza noted, the "Ohio state fire marshal never determined the cause of the fire and no one was ever charged with a crime"; Issa and the insurance company settled out of court.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. holds up a document as he speaks to IRS official Lois Lerner on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 22, 2013, during the committee's hearing to investigate the extra scrutiny IRS gave to Tea Party and other conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status. Lerner told the committee she did nothing wrong and then invoked her constitutional right to not answer lawmakers' questions. Credit: AP

Plouffe's tweet, without this background knowledge, could lead some to believe that Issa was, indeed, a suspected arsonist who sought to nab insurance money through deceit. When asked why he brought up the congressman's past problems, the former Obama staffer attempted to attach Issa's past to the present. Plouffe told CNN that his opponent's "ethics issues are far more recent. Look at ethics complaints filed."

These complaints -- filed by liberal groups, as CNN notes -- are not indicative of wrongdoing. Currently, there are no official ethics judgments against Issa. Plouffe's response to the congressman's claims that the administration is hedging may have simply been delivered out of frustration or anger.

Or, perhaps he was looking to spawn visceral responses in readers who would see the tweet as calling into question Issa's overall character.

(H/T: USA Today)

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