Former IRS official Lois Lerner must privately cough up what she knows to lawmakers probing the agency's tea-party targeting scandal before any kind of immunity deal can be worked out, Rep. Mike Kelly says.
"In my background, I'm an automobile dealer. When you sit down with a customer, you never ever agree to anything until you find out at what price will they buy,'' Kelly, a Pennsylvania Republican, told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV
"You've got to know from her what is it that you have, that you're willing to tell us, before we talk about granting you immunity,'' he said Wednesday.
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But with or without Lerner's help, Kelly — a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, which is probing allegations that she and others targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status — said information will soon flow.
"We're going to start talking to IT people, we're going to be talking to people that we can make sure that the whistleblowers don't get hurt,'' he said.
"We'll start to see the information, start to get a free flow, and we'll get to the bottom of it.''
Kelly says the IRS, by proclaiming that key emails written by Lerner and others have been lost because of a computer crash, must think Americans are "stupid.''
"This is impossible, what they're saying, it can't happen that way . . . Hmm, kind of lost them. My hard drive crashed?'' he said.
"It can all be retrieved. There's nobody out there that says it can't be retrieved . . . The people in the IT, these people can be heroes for their country. They can be true patriots.''
Kelly says the IRS has betrayed the people's trust by not coming clean on what it knows.
"I have absolutely no idea what the heck oath they took. It is not to protect the IRS,'' he said.
"Everything in this government is dedicated to taking care of private citizens. It is about the people. It has always been about the people, and when you get that confused, you really ought to . . . go home and forget about it.''
"The American people right now are outraged, and they need to stay outraged . . . The American people look at this now and say, how could we have been so asleep for so long and allowed these people to get away with this?''
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