At Friday’s powerful House Ways and Means Committee hearing investigating the wrongdoings of the Internal Revenue Service’s tax-exempt unit, Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Penn., delivered a stirring and brutal smack down of the IRS’s conduct, earning him a very rare and loud ovation from the audience seated in the galery.
At issue was the IRS’s targeting of conservative organizations seeking tax-exempt status from the IRS. Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller was uneasily sitting at the witness table, and was the subject of Kelly’s wrath.
“If you think it’s uncomfortable sitting over there, you ought to be a private individual when the IRS is across from you questioning,” Kelly said.
“I have a grandson who is afraid to get out of bed at night because he thinks there’s somebody under the bed that’s going to grab him, and I think most Americans feel that way about the IRS. You get a letter from you folks or a phone call, it’s with terror that you look at it,” Kelly continued, describing the IRS’s reputation for arrogance and intimidation.
“Where you’re sitting, you should be outraged. But you’re not,” he continued. “The American people should be outraged, and they are.”
“This has nothing to do with political parties. This has to do with highly targeted groups. This confirms everything the American people believe. This is a huge blow to the faith and trust that the American people have in their government,” Kelly exploded.
“Is there any limit to the scope of where you folks can go?” he asked rhetorically.
He ran through a number of onerous questions and requirements that the IRS put to conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status. “And you don’t think that’s intimidating?” he asked rhetorically. “It’s sure as hell intimidating.”
“This is absolutely an overreach, and this is an outrage for all Americans,” Kelly concluded as the gallery erupted in applause.
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