Rand Paul: IRS Scandal 'Tragic' and 'Humorous'
Sen. Rand Paul said on Saturday that “it’s so tragic that it’s almost humorous” that the former head of the Internal Revenue Service department involved in the targeting of conservative groups is now running the agency’s unit charged with implementing Obamacare.
“It’s just hard for me to believe,” the Kentucky Republican told former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on his Fox News program. “Most of us not only want people fired who abuse their power — some of them should probably be imprisoned — and instead we’re finding out they’re being promoted.
“We’re quite unhappy and, really, the president hasn’t quite gotten this,” Paul added. “Whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, nobody wants the government so powerful that they can use that power to abuse their political opponents.”
Sarah Hall Ingram is now overseeing the division charged with implementing Obamacare. She was commissioner of the IRS office responsible for tax-exempt organizations from 2009 to 2012.
Obamacare has 47 separate provisions that require IRS involvement. It is the second-largest agency, after the Department of Health and Human Services, charged with implementing the healthcare act.
The IRS is charged with administering Obamacare's required purchase of health coverage and checking whether millions of Americans are in compliance.
“They’re going to find that really a lot of people are upset by this — not just Republicans — but a lot of people worry about a government that powerful,” Paul told Huckabee.
He said that Friday's testimony of ousted IRS Acting Commissioner Steven Miller — in which he told a congressional committee that “foolish mistakes were made by people trying to be more efficient” — was not credible.
“They were asking people for what books they read, what speeches they gave — even what thoughts they had about different political candidates,” Paul explained. “There’s no way that there’s not a paper trail on this.
“This is the government. Nothing sort of happens spontaneously,” he added. “I guarantee you that there’s a paper trail, a couple inches thick, on approving the process of this.”
Paul also said that some Americans “were targeted simply for showing their concern about the direction of government and showing opposition to government policies.”
In response to a question from Huckabee on how he would grade President Barack Obama’s handling of the recent spate of scandals engulfing his administration, Paul referred to a quote from President Abraham Lincoln: “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.”
“With all of the power of the commander-in-chief, what we hope is that we can trust that man or woman to restrain himself from abusing that power,” Paul said. “We have a lot of laws in place to try to restrain it, but you also need a president who would restrain himself and not abuse that power.
“It’s a misdirection trying to lay blame on people other than himself,” Paul added of Obama. “But really if you’re a leader, your culpability lies maybe in not being aware of the decisions that were being made beneath you.”
Herein, however, lies the vulnerability of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — particularly on the Benghazi attacks that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans last Sept. 11, Paul said.
Clinton herself should have been involved in approving requests from Stevens for increased security at the U.S. post there, the senator said.
“That’s precisely her culpability. She should have been involved. Libya is one of the five most dangerous posts on earth — and when they were asking for security, she let underlings make these decisions. That’s a real mistake.
“I really question how much involvement she had, particularly in the aftermath,” he added.
Paul referenced the 100 emails and notes released this week showing how the talking points used by U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to describe the initial cause of the assaults were heavily edited largely at the request of the State Department.
“Now, it looks like her fingerprints are all over these talking points that were altered,” he told Huckabee.
Saying that “the American people will decide” whether Clinton should be elected president should she run, Paul reiterated that the Benghazi compound should have been under military watch.
“Benghazi is not Paris,” he said. “Benghazi should have never been under State Department control. It should have been under military command and control. The Libyan government, the host government, was not capable of guarding our ambassador or our embassy.”
He cited how the State Department had hired the February 17th Martyrs Brigade, a militia group whose known ties to Islamic extremists were disclosed in an exclusive Newsmax report earlier this month, to protect Stevens and other U.S. personnel in Libya.
“They high-tailed it out of there — and they were gone immediately once the shots were fired,” Paul said.
“In a war-torn area, we should have a military presence sufficient to defend our ambassador or we shouldn’t be there,” the senator added. “They still haven’t done that — and I’m fearful that Libya is unstable enough that something like this could happen again.”