By Jessie Markell
In an interview about the IRS scandal, Senator Rand Paul called for the firing of IRS officials involved in the targeting of conservative groups for extra scrutiny back in 2010. He asserted that “in order for government to gain its trust back someone needs to be fired, someone needs to be held responsible and if it was criminal, someone needs to go to jail.”
The House Oversight Committee hearing on the matter today called top administration officials involved in the scandal to testify on their role. Lois Lerner, the IRS official who first announced the improper targeting and could have given the most insight into the scandal, decided to invoke her Fifth amendment right to not testify and incriminate herself. The remaining witnesses received a shellacking from Committee members who were outraged at the targeting and specifically at the IRS’s inability to keep Congress informed about their internal investigation.
As entertaining as it was to watch the IRS be on the hot seat today, between the internal IRS investigation and Ms. Lerner’s lack of testimony, there are still many unanswered questions as to how high this scandal goes. This has led some to call for an independent investigation, including Senator Paul, who said “if people are taking the Fifth, then how do we get to the bottom of this unless there is some kind of special investigation?”
So far, the only official that has been removed from office over the scandal has been the acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller who was scheduled to be on his way out in June of this year anyway. One thing is for sure, the government has quite unsurprisingly shown the incompetency to perform the duties entrusted to it and now the inability to properly reprimand itself – shocking, I know.
Hopefully one day we can fire the IRS altogether, but for now, top officials will have to do.