Newt Gingrich: 'Big government doesn't work'

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," June 6, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: We begin with an update on this morning's highly contentious House Oversight Committee hearing.

Now, for several grilling hours, top officials at the IRS were grilled not only about the agency's enemies list but also about the reckless use of your tax dollars.

Now, this was all in conjunction with the release of a scathing report by the Treasury Department's inspector general. Now, his investigation revealed that between the years 2010 and 2012, the tax agency spent $50 million on 225 conferences for IRS employees. Now, event planners were awarded well over six figures to help the planning of these lavish affairs. Sixty thousand dollars was used to make videos, by the way, including that infamous "Star Trek" spoof. A single guest speaker was handed nearly 30 grand. An artist was paid $17,000 for creating a drawing that was designed to help our brave civil servants quote, "Find their creative solutions to challenges."

And the list goes on, which is exactly why things got so heated today on Capitol Hill.


REP. DARRELL ISSA, R-CALIF.: Today more than any other hearing, we revisit the kind of waste and the kind of failure to secure taxpayers' hard-earned money than I can remember in history.

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS, D-MD.: You cannot take the money of American workers and waste it.

ISSA: The IRS effectively was guilty of tax evasion.

CUMMINGS Mr. George, according to your report, the IRS conference in Anaheim in 2010 cost more than $4 million, is that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes, it is, sir.

CUMMINGS: You could have saved a million dollars by holding this conference in Orlando?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Mr. Fink, are you familiar with this guy? This is the GSA official in the hot tub. Have you ever seen that picture?

FARIS FINK, IRS OFFICIAL: I have seen that picture, yes sir.

REP. JOHN MICA, R-FLA: Mr. George, in your report you have squirting fish as part of $64,000. Is anyone -- has any one seen a squirting fish. Did you see one at the conference?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: No, sir, I did not.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Mr. Fink, we have what we understand is the swag bag from the event.

From what was in this swag bags is it also included -- I'm kind of confused by saying this, a plastic squirting fish. Why would people get a plastic squirting fish?

FINK: Congressman, as I mentioned, I honestly have no idea what the plastic squirting fish was.

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ, R-UTAH: When did you think that something was wrong here? Did you ever think something was wrong here?

You are in charge! This is what is so infuriating. You are in charge!

REP. TREY GOWDY, R-S.C.: While your fellow Americans are losing their jobs and their health insurance and their homes, you do not spend $4 million at a conference for which there is no accountability.


HANNITY: I'm in the wrong business. I never got a plastic squirting fish ever.

Joining me with reaction, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Did you ever get a plastic squirting fish? I never got one.

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: No, I think that big government is reaching new levels of really absurdity, and this whole Internal Revenue Service scandal is just one more example of why bureaucratic big government doesn't work, can't work, is not going to be held accountable in the end and has to be I think very, very profoundly changed.

HANNITY: And we're going to have 16,000 new IRS agents overseeing healthcare? Help me out.

GINGRICH: Well, this is why if you look at every scandal that is underway right now, it is a genuine repudiation of the potential of effective accountable competent bureaucratic big government. I mean, and you see this in the Internal Revenue Service, you see it in the Environmental Protection Agency scandal. You see it at the Justice Department. You see it in Health and Human Services. And I hope that the Congress will continue to hold hearings and just calmly and steadily bring out more and more examples of how impossible it is to run this government effectively.

HANNITY: Now, the one IRS official, I mean, part of this is funny except when you look into the way that that they have been treating conservative Tea Party members. But the guy that played Spock in the "Star Trek" spoof was asked what were you thinking. Watch this?


ISSA: What were you thinking? Were you thinking this will never be seen or were you thinking how will this look like if it is seen?

FINK: Those videos were at that time, they were made for an attempt to in a well intentioned way to use humor, a "Star Trek" video to open the conference.

The fact of the matter is it is embarrassing and I apologize.


HANNITY: What was your reaction to that?

GINGRICH: Well, this is typical of the whole lack of accountability. Can you imagine if you made a major mistake with the IRS and said look, I want to apologize?

HANNITY: Is that a question?


GINGRICH: If I say I'm sorry five times can I go home?

The imbalance -- you know, I'm writing a newsletter at that is going to come out in which I just ask a simple question. What does it mean to be illegal? When you go through these various scandals you are told this was illegal. That was illegal. The next thing is illegal. Nobody gets held accountable. Nobody gets fired. Nobody goes to jail. So what does it mean to say these things are illegal? And I think it is just part of the decay of bureaucratic big government that it is across-the-board just beginning to fall apart.

HANNITY: What did you make of the transcripts, because the narrative has been that the people responsible were in Cincinnati? Rogue agents. But the transcripts, they said they were directed by Washington. What do you think of that?

GINGRICH: I believe that the Obama administration has been even more dishonest about the Internal Revenue scandal than it has been about Benghazi, and it has been almost completely dishonest about Benghazi.

When you learn for example that the commissioner of Internal Revenue visited the White House 157 times, more than the attorney general, more than the secretary of state, more than any Cabinet officer, 157 times. You have to ask yourself, what were they talking about? What were they meeting on? His answer tells you the contempt he has for the Congress. Was well one of them was going to the White House Easter egg roll.

Well, you know, that is the kind of contempt for the American people that should not exist in somebody who holds public office.

HANNITY: That was a poll that came out this week that showed the American people do not believe the president, personally he has taken a hit. Now, if they lied more here and they didn't tell the truth in Benghazi and didn't tell the truth on the IRS and Eric Holder didn't tell the truth it is as relates to James Rosen, how should people interpret that?

GINGRICH: Look, I think we need to fundamentally shake up the entire big government system. I think it is much bigger than President Obama. I think some of these problems go back for decades. Back as early as 1991 there was a survey of the Internal Revenue Service and a majority of the IRS agents who were surveyed said they thought it was OK to lie to Congress.

You know, there has been a deep, deep decay of the bureaucracy in this country. It is out of control. It's unaccountable. Nobody manages it. Axelrod, who was President Obama's chief strategist, said I thought very clearly in a TV interview recently, that government is now so big the president doesn't know what is going on. Well, then who is in charge? If the government is that big maybe we ought to shrink the government pretty dramatically.

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