Rep. Paul Ryan vowed Tuesday to keep investigating the IRS tea party-targeting scandal and will "keep digging" until the truth is uncovered.
"We've got to get to the bottom of it and we've got to hold people accountable so that it doesn't happen again," Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican and chairman of the House Budget Committee, told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"This isn't about a witch hunt and about settling scores, this is about getting government right, in its respectful role, so that the citizen [whom] the government is supposed to work for has confidence in their own government. Right now, they don't."
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Ryan's vow came following the bombshell disclosure by government watchdog Judicial Watch that Justice Department lawyers have admitted that every federal government email is backed up on computers.
That revelation flies in the face of previous statements by the IRS that key emails to and from former agency official Lois Lerner — allegedly a major figure in the targeting of conservative groups seeking tax exempt status — had been lost forever in a computer crash.
"It's going to take us time to dig at this. We're not going to let this go. We're going to keep going, keep going and keep going," Ryan said.
"In many cases, they thought they could just wait this out, hope that it gets to the second page, fifth page, last page or off the pages of the newspapers and that it'll just go away.
"We're not going to let that happen…. We started this investigation two years ago. We were getting reports from random groups of taxpayers, tea party conservative-based taxpayers.
We were getting the same complaints and we were witnessing a pattern. We thought that was very startling so we inquired."
Ryan told Steve Malzberg that, at first, the IRS denied any wrongdoing whatsoever.
"The IRS said, 'nope, nothing here'. Then, we asked again and they said, 'no, nothing at all, no problem'. Then, we kept digging at it and digging at it and every time they gave us an answer the answer they gave us was disproven quickly thereafter," said Ryan, who ran for vice president in 2012.
"We're just going to keep digging and keep going and keep digging and keep going until we get to the bottom of it all…. [It's] not because President Obama is a Democrat and we're Republicans, it's because this is our government, the people's government.
"They work for us, not the other way around, we represent the people's house, the representative branch of government and if you're going to have any confidence in government, if you're going to respect your government at all, it has to respect you."
Ryan also called for an overhaul of the corporate tax structure that has led many large corporations to weigh moving their headquarters to foreign countries. Burger King
announced this week that it is buying the Canadian company Tim Horton's and is expected to move there.
"You need to get our tax system competitive. We tax our businesses so much more than foreign creditors tax theirs," Ryan said.
"The Canadians tax their businesses at 15 percent. Our corporations are taxed at 35 percent, the highest in the world and successful small businesses who filed their taxes as individuals are taxed as high as 44.6 percent because of Obamacare.
"We're taxing these jobs overseas and these companies are either going to do this or get taken over by foreign companies."
Ryan said in his home state of Wisconsin, residents complain about the beer industry's move from the Midwest, with Budweiser and Miller being owned by foreign companies.
"[It's] because of the tax system. We're quickly losing American, iconic brands because of our government and our policy. This is why in the Ways and Means Committee we have called for strenuously over a number of years for cutting our corporate taxes and getting all of our taxes down so that we can be competitive," Ryan said.
"We want to get our country back on the right track … we want a healthy economy that produces good jobs and opportunity for everybody."
Ryan is author of the new book "The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea,"
published by Twelve.
A healthy economy, Ryan said, "helps us fight poverty … it helps reconnect people with the American dream, the American idea.
"We've got a long ways to go and I want to lay out a lot of policies on what to do and how to do that. That's what this book is about. It also says what principles we should use, which are the core, founding principles that made this country great in the first place….
"They're so different [than] the principles of liberal, progressivism that the president is practicing these days."
Ryan is weighing a possible run for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. There has been talk that Mitt Romney, whom Ryan ran with unsuccessfully against Barack Obama and Joe Biden, will throw his hat in the ring again.
But Ryan doesn't believe it.
"I have talked to him. He says he won't run. He said that privately and publicly. The reason I said that is because he's a great guy. He's an honorable man, very principled, very intelligent and the right temperament of character to be a great president," he said.
"Since the election, people have seen a little bit more of that side of him that we wish everybody would've seen. As far as myself, that's something that my assembly and I are going to take a good, hard look at in 2015.
"Right now, we've got a lot ahead of us. We've got to win the Senate … we want to improve the House."
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