Ohio lawmaker calls IRS targeting GOP a 'crime'

How should group be held accountable?


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," May 13, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, they got away with it for years.

Now my next guest wants to make sure they go away for years, if true, because Ohio Republican Congressman Mike Turner is pushing new legislation that would make IRS bullies pay big time.

You know, I will tell you, Congressman, it is a little disturbing that the IRS can even get away with doing this sort of thing, and, furthermore, that it would be following orders from higher-ups if that's the case to do this kind of thing. Both are in flagrant disregard not only of the Constitution, but of just simple law.

What kind of penalties would you want to see exacted?

REP. MICHAEL TURNER, R-OHIO: Well, our goal is that this never happen again.

And currently if the call had come from the White House for the IRS to do this, it would be a crime that includes five years of imprisonment and up to $5,000 of a fine. We believe that if the IRS internally undertakes this, they should be under the same scope. We believe it should be a crime so that if somebody in the IRS walks into another employee's office and tells them that they want to discriminate or persecute a group based upon their political beliefs or their religious beliefs, hopefully, if it's a crime, the other employee will think twice and this will have a chilling effect and will stop this type of abusive behavior.

CAVUTO: You would think you wouldn't even need a threat like this, because that is so blatant. I still can't fathom, Congressman, how such an order would be conveyed, if it did come from, let's say, administration officials. Even if it came from sympathetic higher-ups at the IRS to administration views, how that would be sort of fed down the chain of command.

TURNER: It's absolutely appalling.

And I know people are very concerned any time that you see an investigative arm of the government being used against the American people, the United States citizens.


CAVUTO: Well, especially the IRS.


CAVUTO: This is the IRS, the most feared agency on the planet.


CAVUTO: Go ahead.

TURNER: Yes, persecuting them based upon their political police beliefs. And it's just wrong. It's how our democracy gets at risk. And we certainly to make certain that this has stiff penalties.

I think everyone agrees that an apology from the IRS is insufficient. This needs to be investigated. The people who perpetrated this need to be held accountable and I believe this needs to be a crime.

CAVUTO: Do you think it's just coincidence that a lot of times administrations have used throughout the years the IRS sort of as a too, not so blatant as this, it would appear, but enough times that it raises questions that the IRS isn't the independent agency we have long made it out to be, that it is a political creature when all is said and done?

TURNER: Well, I'm certainly disappointed in the administration.

I think if this had been liberal groups that had been attacked, instead of conservative groups, you would certainly see a greater outcry by the administration.

CAVUTO: No, forget it, forget it.

TURNER: But, so clearly their response I think certainly is insufficient, and this goes -- again, it doesn't matter if they are left-wing or right-wing organizations. This goes to democracy. This goes to our having the freedom of our own political beliefs.

CAVUTO: Real quickly, for the IRS to telegraph this by apologizing ahead of time makes me think that they were aware that their goose was cooked, that people had the proof and information and a lot more.

So, methinks that maybe there's a lot more to come out here. What do you think?

TURNER: Absolutely, because it's not just those who were doing the improper investigations. It's also those who directed and those who were complicit, who knew it was happening and still didn't stop it.

All of those people need be to be held accountable because this is wrong.

CAVUTO: All right, Congressman, thank you very, very much.

So, we will keep track of this story as it unfolds.

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