OTR Interviews

Is it time for a special prosecutor on the IRS?

Another official refuses to testify about abuse of power in embattled agency

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," June 26, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Absolutely staggering news! Another IRS official pleads the 5th.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DARRELL ISSA, OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: The committee will come to order.

Our report, we believe, shows a cozy relationship between Strong Castle's president and the IRS deputy director for information technology acquisitions, Greg Roseman, and it's the heart of this issue.

Mr. Roseman, when did you first become aware of a company known as Strong Castle, Inc.?

GREGORY ROSEMAN, DEPUTY IRS DIRECTOR: Mr. Chairman, on the advice of counsel, I respectfully decline to answer any questions and invoke my 5th Amendment privilege to remain silent.

ISSA: Mr. Roseman, are you currently employed by the IRS?

ROSEMAN: Mr. Chairman, on the advice of counsel, I respectfully decline to answer any questions and invoke my 5th Amendment privilege to remain silent.

ISSA: Lastly, Mr. Roseman, are you prepared to answer any questions here today about your role in the IRS acquisitions and information technology products and services from Strong Castle, Inc.?

ROSEMAN: Mr. Chairman, no.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Strong Castle has not sought nor has it received unfair advantage in its pursuit of any government contract.

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS, HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: You know, Michael Jackson had that song, "The Man in the Mirror." You need to look in the mirror.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cut to the chase. What was the reaction? You find out there's targeting of political groups six months before a presidential election. What was the reaction from the top three people at the IRS?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: TIGTA reported the information that they were looking into the audit. And then at that point in time, IRS waits for TIGTA to complete their investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's not what they told you! They told you Tea Party patriot 9/12 were identifying terms used to put groups on a list and were never given the tax-exempt status they sought! In some case, they've been trying to get it for three years! You learned that in May -- or excuse me, May 30, 2012, and your reaction was, Oh, we'll just kind of let it keep going and see what TIGTA comes up with?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you agree that targeting conservative groups is wrong?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir, what I was told --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you agree whether targeting conservative groups is wrong? That's a yes and no. Do you agree it was wrong? Can someone in the IRS admit that this was wrong?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This problem is about IRS mismanagement, the agency's failure to the American people and the agency's refusal to answer for what it has done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: And the grilling did not stop when the hearing ended, afterwards Griff Jenkins demanding more answers from IRS deputy commissioner Beth Tucker.

GRIFF JENKINS, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ms. Tucker. Griff Jenkins with FOX News. A quick question. Excuse me. You said you'd been at the IRS for 29 years, so I just ask you, how -- how can the American --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE)

JENKINS: I'm asking her a question. How can the American people still trust the IRS with everything that's known, from the sweetheart deals we heard about today to the targeting of conservatives to the credit card abuse and the lavish conferences? As an employee almost 30 years, how can the IRS -- can the American people still trust the IRS?

BETH TUCKER, DEPUTY IRS COMMISSIONER: The American people should trust the IRS because we're comprised of roughly 100,000 civil servants that do their best every day for this country. That said, there are some mistakes that have been made. And as you've heard our acting commissioner say, IRS is taking steps to get to the bottom of some of the problems that we're seeing right now. But I think it is critical for the American public to know that we take our mission very seriously. Thank you very much.

JENKINS: One follow-up. Mr. Roseman, who pled the 5th -- can you tell us, will he keep his job?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAN SUSTEREN: So were Oversight Committee members satisfied with the answers they got today from the IRS? Congressman Jim Jordan joins us. Nice to see you, sir.

REP. JIM JORDAN, R-OHIO: Good to be with you, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: In that sound bite with Griff Jenkins, Beth Tucker, who is essentially number three as deputy commissioner, said that -- that they all do their best. And I assume she means she was doing her best, too. However, in May of 2012, she knew all about the targeting (INAUDIBLE) investigation, and she just sat there and did zero!

JORDAN: Yes, she was in the meeting when the inspector general informed her, Steve Miller and Doug Shulman, the same guy who went to the White House 157 times, when they were informed this targeting was taking place. And she didn't come forward to correct the record.

Mr. Shulman's gone from the IRS. Mr. Miller's been fired. She's the top- ranking official who was there when this was happening, when they were notified about it. She's still there.

She didn't feel it was incumbent upon her to come forward and set the record straight, even though her boss at the time had already testified two months prior to Congress and said he could give us assurances that no targeting was going on.

Every time you pull on a string with this deal, it just unravels more and more, from sweetheart deals to now the second person taking the 5th to conferences where extravagant spending of taxpayer dollars takes place, and on and on it goes.

And we're just going to keep pursuing this. And you know how it is as a prosecutor. Takes time to get to the truth. You got to interview lots of people. And we're slowly, steadily getting there, but we're just getting started, frankly.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, is it time for a special prosecutor?

JORDAN: It may be.

VAN SUSTEREN: Because -- the attorney general apparently is just sitting there (INAUDIBLE) DOJ. This has been going on for years. I mean, it's been going on for years, these problems at the IRS. And with all due respect to Congress, is the -- a lot of this stuff has been going on for years and didn't get under -- get uncovered. Is it time for a special prosecutor with subpoena power and with the power to present to a grand jury?

JORDAN: Well, Greta, maybe down the road. Right now -- remember, we have subpoena power. We've interviewed --

VAN SUSTEREN: You can't go to a grand jury and get indictments!

JORDAN: I understand. But we've interviewed 11 people. Each time we interview someone, we find out another person ...

VAN SUSTEREN: So what --

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: What more notice do you need that there's a real serious problem over there? You can't -- you can't take it to a grand jury for indictment! Turn it over to a special prosecutor! Get someone who will do something about this!

JORDAN: And in fact, we may need to that, particularly in light of -- down the road, we may need to do that, particularly in light of the FBI's response. Just a week and a half ago, I asked the FBI, the director of the FBI, who was heading up the investigation? How many agents -- you would think something of this magnitude --

VAN SUSTEREN: And the answer was?

JORDAN: He didn't know! He didn't know how many people were on the case! He didn't who the -- you would think something of this magnitude, a story of this concern to the American people, you would put your best lawyer, your best investigative team on it, and he couldn't even tell me --

VAN SUSTEREN: How about just anybody!

JORDAN: Yes, well --

VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, how about just anybody!

JORDAN: I'm sure there's -- there are people on it and there are people working -- but he couldn't tell me, which again underscores the lack of focus and priority that this must have at the FBI.

What scared me more about this than anything else, though, Greta, is that the same FBI who couldn't tell me who was heading up the investigation visited Tea Party people last year and the year before when they were applying for the tax-exempt status!

That's an IRS question. What's the FBI doing showing up at people's door who were applying for tax-exempt status? When in America did you get a friendly visit from your local FBI agent when you were simply saying, I want to exercise my 1st Amendment rights to political speech and apply for tax-exempt status? That is as chilling and scary as it gets!

VAN SUSTEREN: OK, that even proves my point more! It's time for a special prosecutor because the attorney general, who is the boss of the FBI, apparently -- I mean, he -- you look at it -- look what's happening. Nothing! Is it time for someone who actually has seriousness of purpose and ability to go to grand jury?

JORDAN: Here's where we are on the committee. It may come to that. But right now, our committee is plowing through this. We're learning more and more each day. We got good staff there. Members on the committee are focused on this. You saw from some of the questions that you played.

We're committed to getting to the truth. There may come a point where this is -- where we do need a special prosecutor to ultimately (ph) get to the truth. The goal of the truth. It takes time to get there. We're plowing through it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, thank you. And I wish you the best of luck because this -- I mean, the stories just are absolutely -- they just keep going on and on and on!

JORDAN: Exactly. Thank you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, sir.

JORDAN: Thank you.