Rep. Mike Kelly said that Friday’s questioning of the ousted head of the IRS on the targeting of conservative groups left him “even more concerned because things are coming to light.”
“The fact that Mr. Miller couldn’t answer [questions], or skirted the answer or redefine the questions …,” the Pennsylvania Republican told Neil Cavuto on Fox News, referring to former Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller.
Miller, who was forced out earlier this week, faced intense questioning from legislators from both parties during a hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee.
A defiant Miller apologized to Congress for the agency’s singling out groups with the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their names in reviewing applications for tax-exempt status. He also denied that the scandal had politicized the IRS.
Kelly described Miller as having “pretty-much a poker face” throughout his nearly four hours of testimony and openly wondered to Cavuto how he got the IRS job.
“I have no idea,” Kelly said in response to the question. “A lot of us are asking the same question about those positions: How did these people get there?
“This is really chilling,” Kelly added. “This further divides the American people with their government. Who do they trust? Who do they have faith in?”
He said that he represented 705,687 people in northwestern Pennsylvania and noted the legendary fear most Americans have of the Internal Revenue Service.
“These are hard-working, American tax-paying families — and they want to know why is it that this heavy hammer of the government can be so intimidating,” Kelly said. “You can’t make a mistake. You can’t stutter or stammer. These folks are all over you.
“The power they are endowed with is incredible. The fact that they can target groups and go after them and ask things like ‘How much money do you have in your wallet?’ or ‘What’s the content of your prayers?’
“Does that have anything to do tax revenue?” the congressman asked. “Does it have anything to do with tax law? Oh, c’mon. Give me a break. This is about intimidation.”
Kelly pledged a full congressional investigation of the scandal.
“That’s an overreaching government and a government that has become way too intrusive into our private lives,” he told Cavuto. “That’s very chilling. That’s not American.
“It’s not acceptable. It’s intolerable — and we’re going to keep pushing and prodding until we find out what’s going on.”
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