Congressman: IRS Scandal Will Widen to Leaks
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News, Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) said that the next stages of the IRS scandal will likely focus on the tax agency’s alleged abuse of power in areas like politically motivated audits and leaking of personal information.
“I think what we’re going to find out and I think that the deeper part is not so much the Tea Party and the ‘Patriot’ and those people who were targeted, but the information that has been leaked,” Kelly, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee which is conducting one of the congressional investigations into the matter, said in a phone interview.
“The information that the IRS has on file on people goes pretty deep into personal lives. It is being leaked out and given to people for very specific political reasons. I think this is something that should be the most chilling thing for Americans to understand.
"This is a branch of government and it is under the executive branch that can be used for a lot of different intimidation elements. Think of what these people have, think of what they have on everybody. If they leak that out to the right person at the right time in the right movement that’s looking to do something, they can completely destroy individuals.”
Kelly believes the revelation the IRS targeting of various conservative organizations was just the beginning of a larger scandal that will continue unraveling. Kelly sees this burgeoning scandal cutting to the core of the IRS as a whole, and likely tying in more prominent Obama administration officials.
Now that the targeting of conservative groups seeking nonprofit status has been exposed, Kelly thinks these other elements of IRS scandal are going to come out.
Kelly, a second-term congressman who rose to conservative prominence a little over a month ago when he berated the IRS in a committee hearing, also said alleged audit power abuse is likely to become a focus, too.
“Especially what we’ve seen happening now with the data collection and the depth to which the data collection is going,” Kelly said. “Who is getting this information? There were donor lists that were leaked out. Highly, highly sensitive and private information was leaked out.”
Kelly said the House Ways and Means Committee has had many whistleblowers and tipsters come forward with information and leads, but committee staff and members need to follow each one through to its end before coming out with any more information.
“There’s a lot more to come,” Kelly said. “[Acting IRS commissioner Danny] Werfel was in last week or maybe it was a little over a week ago. One of the things he says is he thinks we’re a couple months away from really finding things out. When he came in, he gave us kind of an update with boilerplate stuff of what you would do if you were going in and what you were looking for and what your desired outcomes were. But he really didn’t give us an update or any specifics at all. It was just more or less that he was on the job now and that he was going to be working to get it fixed.
Kelly added that he thinks “there’s so much more there.”
“And we’re having whistleblowers come out that are saying things now and we have to make sure everything we’re hearing is in fact true and we can look into it,” he said.
Kelly also said that he gets the impression IRS officials do not care if they committed illegal activity.
“I got to tell you, from sitting across from some of these folks [who work for the Obama administration in the IRS], they really do believe they’re above the law,” he said. “You look at them and you can tell by the way they talk to you. They kind of give you a patent answer and probably some talking points they were given and told ‘just stick to this line and don’t go any further.’”
Kelly noted the fact-finding mission is taking quite some time because there’s a “75,000 page code with 90,000 people—I think 90,000 is underestimating the number of people working for the agency—and now they’ve got an $11 billion budget, and they’re asking for another $1 billion. Part of is to implement the Affordable Care Act. The thing [the IRS] is growing, growing, growing, becoming too involved in our lives and when you look at some of the questions that were asked, you’ve got to sit back and say to yourself ‘what the heck does this have to do with the IRS? And why am I being questioned this way?’
"I understand people were looking to get certain certifications and so they were asked certain questions, but some of this stuff goes really deep. The fact that they say ‘we also interviewed some progressive groups,’ that’s a wink, wink, nod, nod. I think that was just a light run-through. That didn’t go anywhere near the depth of the information they had when it came to Tea Party groups, ‘Patriot’ groups.”