Buchanan: IRS is a 'rogue agency'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 24, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Former senior adviser to President Reagan Pat Buchanan joins us. Nice to see you, Pat.


VAN SUSTEREN: OK, the IRS scandal -- it certainly is grabbing a lot of attention this week and last week. Is this scandal going to go away quickly or is this a big problem for the White House?

BUCHANAN: No, it's not going to go away quickly and I think the president's got a very serious problem on his hands. This thing began three years ago. It became known in the IRS two-and-a-half years ago.

The questions that are lying on the table, Greta, are tremendous. Who ordered this in the IRS? Who knew about it in the IRS? Who knew about it at the Treasury Department? Did Geithner know this was going on.

When they reported it to the president of the United States or to the White House, White House counsel, she did not even inform the president of the United States for weeks that she knew about this and that that was coming. This is inexplicable.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, here's what I don't understand, Pat. This has been going on for three years, as you know. And does some of the blame rightfully go to Congress, who for three years also had wind on it, has power of oversight, even has subpoena power, and we have, you know, a lot of people have suffered in the interim. So you've got the White House apparently -- I don't know what the White House did know or not know. Certainly, the IRS knew.


VAN SUSTEREN: And you've got -- and you've got Congress that was wind of it. Why didn't they -- why didn't they move this faster?

BUCHANAN: This also is inexplicable. Here you've got -- look, this has gone on for three years. People in Cincinnati knew all about it. Their superiors knew about it. The whole -- the edict they were given was expanded by the IRS. This is all known inside the IRS by any number of people.

But I will say this for the Congress. They did ask questions after they got letters saying the Tea Party is being harassed. They asked questions. Now, I don't know if they were lied to, but they were misled. They were told, in effect, or they came to believe, in effect, that there was no targeting going on.

So I think they were deceived. Now, whether these were directly lies, I don't know. But I do -- I do agree with you. This is astonishing, that this could go on for three years or two-and-a-half years and not become known in the city.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it's astonishing that it's almost systemic, that the culture in the IRS is such, there were enough people involved that no one sort of put on the brakes within the IRS, that it seemed to be OK to go after these conservative groups. It was OK to target -- OK to drag out their application!

BUCHANAN: This is a rogue agency. It's what it looks like to me. You're right. I don't know who ordered this. Let's suppose it was a small group in the tax exempt section in Cincinnati. More people are going to know, more and more are going to know, then the orders go down, expand this to people who are interested in the Bill of Rights and Constitution and making a better America. People have to know this all through that agency, and the idea that this doesn't move up through the bureaucracy and that they don't know it in Washington when that's where the tax exempt department is.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, there's -- well, there's one suggestion that Lois Lerner knew in the summer of 2011, that there was something awry, and it was still going on well in 2012, and she, of course, was head of the department.

BUCHANAN: Well, I -- I really -- and again, this was apparently known all through the agency and through the Treasury I think by May of 2012, before the election, in other words. Maybe it was August, but before the election.

But they had to know if something like this hits, this is going to be an incredible distraction and it's going to be an incredible problem for the presidential candidate. And how this thing did not break really escapes me.

But let me talk briefly about the president because I disagree with some of my conservative colleagues. I think this shows a sense of indifference, a sense that he is out of touch, that he is not in command and control.

Take Mr. Holder, the attorney general. He said, This was one of the worst national security leaks I have ever seen. It's first, second or third in that category, and that is why we ordered the seizure of all of the records for two months of the Associated Press in Washington, D.C.

It's that serious, and he doesn't even give the president a heads-up?

VAN SUSTEREN: Pat, we're still trying to get more information, more facts. Thank you.

BUCHANAN: Thank you.