This is a rush transcript from "Your World," May 22, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: After the pleading, the seething. You heard from the Tea Party about Lois Lerner pleading the fifth today at the IRS.
Now to Senator Marco Rubio, who says he's heard more than enough today.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA: It's pretty outrageous that she went to the committee, kind of testified, got her part of the argument out, and then left and said, I'm not talking anymore.
So I think it's certainly instructive. Look, the bottom line is, number one, let's just realize what's happening here. The IRS either deliberately targeted Americans because of their political views or they're incompetent. Which one of those do we feel more comfortable with? I think they're both really bad. And I think in particular it's really bad if the IRS is incompetent, because they're on the front lines of implementing ObamaCare.
Now, as far as where the IRS specific issue goes, I think we need more investigations. We need to get to the bottom of exactly how this happened, who said what. The House's timeline on this issue continues to shift in terms of who knew what within the White House. We find out yesterday that the question that she answered was actually staged and planted at an event. This shows a level of calculation that I think is increasingly concerning.
So, look, I think both the House and Senate should be having more investigative hearings and bringing people in to testify under oath, so we can get to the bottom of what happened here.
CAVUTO: Now, you recently filed an amendment to the 2013 farm bill that would call for stiff punishment of IRS agents who leak.
CAVUTO: What would that punishment involve?
RUBIO: Well, basically, it could become a felony if they're doing it deliberately like that.
And I think that's really problematic. Think about it. You're turning over documents to a government agency. And then someone in that government agency is cooperating with the press in an effort to embarrass you. And that's separate from this whole paperwork targeting in the not- profit section.
That's another thing that happened that hasn't gotten nearly enough attention that should be looked at as well. So, that needs to be stiffly criminalized. But, beyond that, I think it needs to be part of this investigation as well.
CAVUTO: Now, Senator, over the weekend I think you were talking to an audience in Florida, Hillsboro, I believe...
CAVUTO: ... where you addressed something bigger afoot here, that maybe speaks of government itself.
Quoting here, you said: "History teaches us that when government is too large and too powerful, no matter who's in charge, it will lead to abuses." You went on to say: "When you create that culture in your government, it is going to impact the people that work in it."
In other words, do you think that in this environment IRS agents were emboldened to do this kind of stuff?
RUBIO: So I think there's two separate parts to that.
Number one is I think you have an administration that clearly has fostered a culture of intimidation. They have basically said if you disagree with us on an issue, we don't have just a disagreement. You're a bad person. And we're going to tell everybody how bad you are and we're going to go out and basically smear you.
They did that throughout the campaign. You saw what they did to Mitt Romney, but also to Mitt Romney supporters. You see that even now. If you don't agree with them on the definition of marriage, you're a bigot. If you somehow believe life begins at conception, you're anti-woman.
So, this is their modus operandi. And I think that does influence the people that work with you in government and how they use their powers. Beyond that, the argument is, I don't care if it's a Republican or a Democrat in charge. The bottom line is that if your government is too large, and too powerful, you're going to have abuses, which is why the founders of this country limited government's powers. They learned the lessons of history. They lived under oppressive government. They didn't want to repeat that here. They didn't buy this idea that if you just elect better people, you will have better government. The fact of the matter is that at some point, if government is not limited, no matter who you elect or who you put in charge, there are going to be abuses.
CAVUTO: But if the environment is such that it encourages sort of like the Indians to do stuff on their own without the chiefs, then maybe this could be a case of the chiefs or the White House having nothing to do with this. They might have fostered the atmosphere that allows these, they say, rogue agents to do what they're doing. Or not. What do you think?
RUBIO: Well, let's find out. That's what the investigations are all about.
But right now what the White House is saying -- and think about what they're saying. The White House is saying, this wasn't deliberate, this was incompetence. So, their defense is that the IRS and the people that work for them are incompetent.
But I think we do need to answer that question. Was this directed? Who knew about this and when? If they knew about it earlier, why didn't they act on it? There's evidence that some people knew about it last year in the middle of the campaign and kept it quiet. I think that question needs to be answered, no doubt about it.
But if we take them at their word right now, what they're basically saying is, no, this is because of incompetence. And here's the problem. The agency they're accusing of incompetence also happens to be on the front lines of implementing ObamaCare. They're going to hire 2,000 new agents next year. They are going to go through the personal medical insurance history of Americans to certify that you have the kind of insurance they want you to have.
CAVUTO: Would you stop that right now?
RUBIO: Absolutely. Absolutely.
CAVUTO: But it's slated to go right now. It's sort of like the train has left the station. How can you stop it?
RUBIO: Well, we need to turn that train around, because I think beginning in 2014 people are really going to start to feel the pain of what this means.
CAVUTO: Senator, I want to switch gears and get your reaction to something more that struck me just how it looked and sounded when the Judiciary Committee approved immigration reform in that 13-5 vote. I want you to listen to this if you can and I want to ask you something about this. This is from last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It passes.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALES AND FEMALES: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!