Alex Witt | May 18, 2013
>>> the irs is headed back to the witness table next week. on tuesday the senate finance committee will hold a hearing followed by the house oversight committee on wednesday when former commissioner douglas schulman will testify. yesterday's hearing before the house ways and means committee grew heated at times.
>> when asked the truth, and you know the truth and you have a legal responsibility to inform others of the truth, but you don't share that truth, what is that called?
>> i always answer questions truthfully, mr. camp.
>> joining me now is democratic congressman lloyd doggett member of the committee on ways and means which conducted that hearing. sir, thank you so much for joining us. i'm curious, did you learn any new information in the hearing yesterday.
>> i did, alex. i learned quite a bit because we had, in addition to the acting commissioner the inspector general, a career republican with audit and investigation responsibilities, his report, his response to my questions demonstrated what a giant overreach this whole matter is. we had mr. camp lead off the hearing by talking about corruption at the irs , by saying it was rotten at the core and it was picking winners and losers and this career republican inspector general with all of that authority denied every one of the issues that mr. camp had advanced. there's no doubt something improper happened here, very improper. we have to be able to defend from discrimination the tea party to be just as wrong as it wants to be, but that's why that acting commissioner was removed, why some of the employees are being changed at the irs . there is no evidence of corruption or of administration involvement in the wrongful decisions that occurred there.
>> i think it seems fairly fair to say that some of your colleagues were exasperated at times while questioning steven miller . how about you? were you satisfied with the information that he brought to the table? i'm not satisfied with the way that the irs performed here. i don't think they should have ever been involved in this nor am i satisfied with the fact that decades ago they changed a statute through a rule that as lawrence o'donnell, your colleague has so importantly noted, changed the social welfare nature of these organizations and said they didn't have to exclusively be involved in social welfare to get a tax subsidy. they just had to be primarily involved and that's opened the door to some organizations that are 49% or more political to use secret money, to have it be tax subsidized and that's part of the republican agenda also. they like this system of using tax-subsidized campaign contributions to influence elections and they also overreach in bringing in the whole question of health care as if 37 votes weren't enough. they're trying to use this incident to attack the role of the internal revenue service to assure that the affordable health care act is there for millions this next year.
>> i'm curious, does -- does the irs have any friends right now, and what prompts this question is i know that you and your colleague representative lamar smith , both of you gentlemen from texas and you both -- you're polar op sits, shall we say ideologically speaking and yet, you've come together for this. we're seeing a lot of people that traditionally might not have the same philosophies, sort of having a pretty close agenda when it comes to this in analyzing this. is anyone sticking up for the irs ?
>> i'm critical of bureaucratic mismanagement any time that it occurs and certainly something like this, but, yes, i think we have a very efficient tax service. it's essential to assure the defense, the national security and the other vital government services and the many hard-working employees that were afraid to say that they even worked at the irs that i know.
>> i think there are plenty of problems in the tax code and most of them created by congress in recent years approving one loophole after another, but what happened here was a specific political wrong that should never have occurred and we need an irs that's out there ensuring, acting in response, the crews for citizens for responsib responsible, ethical government to approve their petition and get them back to doing social welfare and public good and not involved in the political process.
>> when i'm talking about criticism of the irs it's not as a whole, but relative to this particular entity of what we're discussing.
>> speaker boehner about who's going jail? any chance that there will be criminal prosecutions?
>> i think the justice department is exploring that. if there has been criminal misconduct, i want to see it fully prosecuted, but again, it seemed a little bit of an overreach before he had any of the facts that the speaker was already talking about criminality. it's a part of this whole effort to impair the affordable health care act, to demand that the tax code be changed in ways that will only put more of the burden on working families and to pursue a republican agenda, although as you've indicated today, the heritage society, or the heritage association call for the congress to do nothing, but focus on these alleged scandals, it would be pretty easy for speaker boehner to do that because the congress, the house at least has done next to nothing all day long.
>> the ceo with the action for america. in all fairness, sir, i know you and others have accused the republican colleagues of exploiting the situation for political gains. if this had happened during the bush administration , wouldn't fellow democrats be going after the white house just as hard.
>> the question is whether or not the facts justify it. who does not find any evidence of corruption or white house involvement. they need to move on to the next issue and not exploit and overreach in the way they have. they've done this before. i was there when newt gingrich shut down the government and when they attempted to impeach president obama and if they interfered with the right of the american people to get more access to health care and better treatment by this congress. i think they'll pay a big price for it.
>> certainly the american people will pay a price.
>> thank you very much, representative lloyd doggett , appreciate your time.