Gowdy: You shouldn't have to tell IRS employees that wasting taxpayer money is wrong

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


REP. TREY GOWDY, R-SC: In the very same month, the very same year that the IRS was conferencing in Anaheim, we were furloughing law enforcement officers. We were furloughing teachers. Prosecutors in my own office were furloughed. Secretaries in my own office were furloughed.

One night, one of my secretaries came in after hours and asked if she could borrow the money to buy her child a birthday present. And she kept apologizing for having to do it and she kept saying, I'll pay you back. I'll pay you back.

And at exactly the same time that young government employee single mom was borrowing money for a child's birthday present, other government employees were staying in $3,500-a-night rooms. Other government employees were spending more money on promotional materials than that young woman makes in a year.


GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: After this heated hearing, the head of the IRS division that staged the $4 million conference trying to make a quick getaway, but Griff Jenkins trying to grill him for more answers.


GRIFF JENKINS, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Mr. Fink, Griff Jenkins with fox. Can I ask you a couple questions?


JENKINS: At any point, when you were appearing in the videos, did you or any one else think that that was not an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars, sir? Don't you feel like you should at least owe an apology to the American people?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have any plans to step down over this?


JENKINS: Mr. Fink, would you agree that $4 million for a conference (INAUDIBLE) think that was an inappropriate use of American taxpayer dollars?

Mr. Fink, will you be resigning any time soon?

So -- so that we can stop running here, will you take one moment to apologize to our audience of taxpayers for your actions?

Thank you very much, sir.


VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman Trey Gowdy joins us. And let me say this, Congressman. Finally! Finally someone's (INAUDIBLE) because I've talked to so many people in Washington who say to me, Well, it was only $4 million. It's such a just nothing compared in the grand scheme of things. No -- and I thought to myself, people in my home town, they must be so enraged --- when they lost jobs, federal employees who work hard like federal prosecutors across the county.

Finally, you were able to, you know, I think really drive the point home that this is a big deal. People got furloughed while they're out partying! That's stealing!

GOWDY: Yes. Greta, when I listened to Elijah's opening statement, Elijah Cummings from Maryland, and he was talking about having to bump into people in his neighborhood and how you explain it. And I had another line of questions, but my mind went back, OK, 2010, you're living like King Faroukh, going to a conference. Gowdy, what were you doing?

I was telling folks that you're going to have to work two weeks with no pay, and you're not going to have any training and it just -- the contrast between one set of government employees doing something as dreadful as blowing other people's taxpayer money juxtaposed with the fact that there are plenty of government employees who work really long hours and do really great work, and yet they get furloughed -- teachers, firefighters, police officers. All of that happened in South Carolina in the exact same year that they're spending money on videos and trinkets! And the disconnect was so stark and...

VAN SUSTEREN: Can I ... I read -- I read the other day how we've cut down on one hot meal for Marines as we're doing the drawback in Afghanistan. Why -- and some Marines work, you know, late hours. They work around the clock, and now we're cutting back one more meal. And I assume it's partly in cost. We have to do that.

I don't know why you or anybody else is calling this a conference! We all know that these are! These are nothing but parties! I mean, there was stupid things that they put on, the trinkets and everything -- this isn't a conference! If they want to learn something or study something, stay home and look at on the Internet or do it by Skype or rent a gym and get a bunch of folding chairs and a podium! This is -- this is the most incredible theft from the American people, and there ought to be perp walks to send a message to people who want to do these!

GOWDY: Well, you know, Greta, you're exactly right. My training when I was at the U.S. attorney's office, is I would walk in the office next door to me and ask Will Lucius and David Stevens what I should do. And it was free, and we didn't have to travel and there were no party favors.

This conference, you didn't even get credit for attending it in Anaheim. There was no sign-in. There was no record of whether or not you actually went to any of the sessions or not. It's a junket!

And -- and when you're asking people to sacrifice -- and remember, 2010, I mean, there are people losing their houses! There are people losing their jobs! And yet these government employees are spending money like -- I can't use the analogy that comes to mind because the FCC would be upset with me. But they're blowing money, and the money doesn't belong to them!

And we're asking other folks through sequestration to tighten their belt, whether it's the GSA or whether it's the VA, any government agency, I'm so tired of having -- the hearings are necessary, but they're not sufficient! We have to do more than just have a hearing and then fly home and forget about it!

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you know what I think is so insane is I hear someone say, Well, we need to change the guidelines. And I think to myself, Guidelines? Really? You didn't know this wasn't OK? You didn't know it was just a -- you know, terrible to take this money from the American people? You didn't know that it was stealing?

I mean, they will say -- they'll say somebody else authorized it. I don't know who authorized it. But why do you have to change guidelines? I mean, what is wrong with the federal government that it doesn't get that this is just wrong from the get-go? You don't even -- why do you need a guideline to tell you?

GOWDY: That was my point to the inspector general. I mean, the answer to everything in D.C. is more training, a Webinar. If we only did a better job of telling you this was wrong -- you shouldn't have employees that need to be told that this was wrong! There's no training that will fix bad character!

And the IRS has been around, Greta, for well over 100 years. If they don't know by now -- if they don't know by now that they're not popular, that they're very invasive -- and we're about to give them a lot more power with respect to health -- they need to be good stewards of the trust. If they haven't figured that out by now, which they have not, then we need another way of collecting revenue in this country!

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, you talked about the Anaheim conference that cost $4 million while people are getting laid off in the U.S. attorney's office in South Carolina. There were 2,629 IRS managers at that. So I -- I -- look, I'll go out on a limb, but I say that every single person at the IRS knew that was going on, all the way to the top. They all knew it! They're all complicit! And everyone just looked the other way!

No one had the guts to sort of step up and say -- not even the -- what -- where was the commissioner? Why didn't he have the guts to say, We're not going to send 2,609 people on a party on the taxpayer dime? But nothing! He just -- you know, they all look the other way!

GOWDY: That's why I say it's systemic. It's cultural. It's a character issue. It cannot be fixed with a recommendation from the inspector general or more training. You can't -- if you don't know that this is wrong while you're doing it, while you're approving it, while you're flying to Anaheim, if you do not know that this is wrong, then you don't need to work for the people.

And that's what government work used to be, public service. Now when you use that phrase, people laugh because they see things like this conference in Anaheim. We got a lot of challenges as a republic, but if we don't restore people's trust in government and the people who work in it, we are finished!

And we need to do more than just have a hearing. The hearing is great. My colleagues did a really good job. But they -- your viewers want to see action. What are you going to do now?

VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, thank you, sir.

GOWDY: I hope you feel better.

VAN SUSTEREN: I will. Thank you.