Lafayette Congressman Charles Boustany At Heart Of Questioning In IRS Investigation
Ousted acting IRS chief Steven Miller testified on Friday before the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee about the scandal involving the agency, which admitted to targeting conservative, TEA Party and religious groups for audits. He admitted that "foolish mistakes" had been made, but that they were not motivated by politics. While speaking in Baltimore on Friday about jobs and the economy, President Obama called himself outraged about the scandal and vowed to fix problems at the IRS. (Rep. John Fleming wants Congress to audit the IRS.)
Lafayette Congressman Charles Boustany, Chairman of the Committee, got to question Miller about the scandal. Rep. Boustany joined Brandon Comeaux and Nathan Pike on "Your Afternoon Drive Home" to talk about the hearing and what's being done moving forward with this investigation.
During the hearing, Congressman Boustany asked Miller about the seeming attempt to cover up the fact that the IRS was adding extra scrutiny to conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status.
Congressman Boustany: "You sent letters to Congress acknowledging our investigation of these allegations but consistently omitted that such discriminatory practices were actually, in fact, taking place. Why did you mislead Congress and the American people on this?"
Miller's response: "Mr. Chairman, I did not mislead Congress nor the American people. I answered the questions as they were asked."
Miller also told Boustany that applications for tax-exemption by political groups are normally triaged for additional attention - to assure no tax fraud is carried out. He says there was no political bias at play, but Boustany was skeptical.
Congressman Boustany: "And you say it was not targeting but why was only one side of the political spectrum singled out in this?"
Miller's response: "Politics is an area where we always ask more questions. It is our obligation under law to do so."
Rep. Boustany was less than pleased with the answers given to the committee.
It's amazing that the IRS Acting Commissioner is still in denial, still showing significant arrogance and contempt for the American people...One thing is clear: that certainly a lot questions remain unanswered. And secondly, the scope of this is even bigger than we originally thought with regard to the things that they're not answering and failing to come clean on.
Going forward, Congressman Boustany says there are major questions that they still have to look at.
Among them being the degree of poor management from the top at the IRS, the extent to which they were given instructions to engage in this type of political targeting from either within the IRS or possibly from outside, maybe from the Department of Treasury or even political operatives with the White House.
Rep. Boustany also says he heard from some of the people and groups who have been audited.
The type of questions that were posed to them constitute a major intrusion of privacy that have nothing to do with taxation and whether someone is applying for tax-exempt status. The level of intrusion is truly abusive. And it's amazing. And we found out that private, personal taxpayer information was basically leaked to the public by people of the IRS, which is a violation of federal law.
Congressman Boustany says his subcommittee, the subcommittee on Oversight in Ways and Means, will continue with the investigation at "a very vigorous pace."
It's a sad day for America to know that one of the most powerful agencies in the federal government, the IRS, which interacts with all of the taxpayers, has been this abusive with regard to its power. And we're going to tame it. We're going to root out the rot that's over there at the IRS and we're going to institute some major reforms. But we still have a lot of questions that need to be answered...We will not let up until we get all the answers.
To listen to Congressman Boustany's Interview on "Your Afternoon Drive Home," CLICK BELOW: