Rand Paul on IRS Mess: 'Someone Needs to Be Fired'
(CNSNews.com) - Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) says heads need to roll at the Internal Revenue Service, but according to the Obama White House, it will take at least a month for anything to happen.
"Someone needs to be fired," Paul told Fox News's Neil Cavuto on Tuesday. "And it seems to be impossible to fire a government employee. Still no one has been fired over Benghazi. They were transferred. We called them up today. They still all have phone numbers and offices. That's the problem.
"People want government to be responsive. And if someone uses and abuses the power of government, they want that person kicked out of office."
Paul added that if criminal activity is discovered in the IRS's targeting of conservative groups, "someone needs to go to jail."
He said it will probably take an "independent investigation" to get to the bottom of the IRS scandal, especially since the star witness, Lois Lerner, reportedly plans to plead the Fifth Amendment at a congressional hearing today (Wednesday).
President Obama says that he is "outraged," Paul told Cavuto: "But we want to see him do something. He needs to say, in a short period of time, that someone is going to be leaving, that -- the people responsible. He sort of says he is outraged, but like with Benghazi, his response was to transfer people around in the State Department and nobody lost their job.
"So, really, someone has to be fired. Someone should be prosecuted if this is a criminal occurrence. But I don't think the president -- he has been kind of passive in all of this. He seems to be detached and he kind of wants to show outrage, but say, hey, I had nothing to do with it, I'm just the president.
"I'm not sure that's going to fly with the public."
Who did it?
According to the inspector-general's report, the political targeting of conservative groups based on ideological criteria began in 2010, was stopped in 2011, and resumed in 2012, an election year.
At Tuesday's Senate Finance Committee hearing, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) asked outgoing IRS Commissioner Steven Miller to name the people who decided to impose "unnecessary, inappropriate and extra screening" on conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.
Do you know who it is who initiated the policy, Toomey asked.
"It happened twice," Miller responded. "The second time it happened (in 2012), I don't believe there's clarity on that. The first time (in 2010), I think there's more clarity on that."
"So who was it?" Toomey asked. "What is the name of the person who did that?"
"I can give you the name, I'll be glad to respond to that, but I don't know off the top of my head," Miller replied.
Miller noted that the IG report says it was Lois Lerner who ordered the political targeting to stop in 2011.
A reporter asked the Obama White House about Miller's comments on Tuesday: "What's preventing the White House from calling and saying, hey, this guy (Miller) knows who it is; We want to know who it is?"
"Well, we want accountability," Carney responded. "That is why the president appointed a new acting commissioner and why he is undertaking the effort to conduct a 30-day top-down review to find out as much information as possible, you know, in addition to what we've learned in the IG report about, you know, what happened here and who's responsible for the inappropriate behavior, making sure that people are held accountable and that, you know, we take steps to ensure it doesn't happen again.
"You know, I don't -- again, that -- the question suggests that we have some independent investigative apparatus here that would have insight into this; we don't. There was an independent IG investigation into this. He reached his conclusions, including that there was this wholly inappropriate activity going on, and the president has spoken very clearly about his views on that."
The reporter pressed Carney, asking why the White House would wait 30 days when it could tell the Treasury Secretary and tell him "that you'd like this person to resign."
Carney said the purpose of the 30-day review is to "find out, with specificity, more detail about what happened and who was responsible and to hold those people accountable, and also to make sure that there are procedures in place to -- so that it doesn't happen again. I'm not going to get into individuals as that 30-day review is being conducted; I can simply point you to the information that we all have, which is the IG report that was released last Wednesday."