Rand Paul: Would Have Suspended Lerner Without Pay

Thursday, 23 May 2013 11:41 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Sen. Rand Paul on Thursday called the decision by the embattled IRS to replace Lois Lerner over the agency’s targeting scandal “a beginning” but that “I would have suspended her without pay.”

“We have to watch very closely, because what they tend to do is they transfer people around and change their titles,” the Kentucky Republican told Fox News' Eric Bolling on the “Hannity” program.

Lerner, who oversees tax-exempt organizations for the IRS, was placed on paid administrative leave. She refused to answer questions on Wednesday at a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

She invoked her constitutional right against self-incrimination after giving a statement in which she denied wrongdoing.

Paul cited the four State Department officials who were supposed to lose their jobs over the attacks in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans last Sept. 11.

“I know that within the State Department, the four people he said he was going to fire are still there,” Paul said. “We called them this week and they still all have phones at the State Department.

“The question is, will he follow through on any of this?” the senator added, referring to President Barack Obama. “He is in danger of losing his ability to lead the nation, because people distrust now whether their government is being used for political purposes.”

Paul said that the only way to determine whether Obama knew that the Internal Revenue Service was targeting tea party, conservative and religious groups is through a congressional inquiry.

“The only way we can find out is to follow the paper trail. We need to know whether there was a written directive from Washington. Did it involve the White House and how far up the food chain does it go?

“I do believe that the criteria they were looking for — ‘tea party,’ ‘patriot,’ people who have criticized the president — that sounds like something that was written by a political operative, not by a civil servant,” Paul said.

More broadly, the senator likened the overall scandal culture in the Obama White House to the children’s nursery rhyme “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.”

“We sort of have Old McDonald’s Farm of scandals: here a scandal, there a scandal, everywhere a scandal,” Paul told Bolling. “I don’t think this will work, because he’s putting off, really, the ultimate reckoning.”

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