There aren't too many occasions where we find ourselves cheering for the congress but last Friday was one of them.
To see IRS commissioner Steven Miller being grilled at the House hearing on the IRS harassment of conservative groups was great, especially for those who have faced the interrogation of an IRS audit. On Friday, the tables were turned on the the IRS boss.
Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Kelly and Rep Kevin Brady of Texas supplied two of the most memorable moments. Rep. Brady turned up the heat on Miller by asking questions that many conservatives have been wondering about since the Obama administration took office. "Is this still America?" he asked. "Is this government so drunk on power that it would turn its full force, its full might to harass and intimidate and threaten an average American who only wants her voice and their voices heard?"
Kelly, who obtained a ton of business experience in building his car dealership in western Pa., once had to mortgage his home in order to keep the business alive. This should qualify him as an authority to counter the line Obama used to push for big government during the last campaign - "You didn't build that!" - a statement that was demeaning to small businessmen.
Kelly asserted that the IRS actions against conservative groups were politically-motivated. His comments were so well crafted that he received a standing ovation.
"You think this is uncomfortable?" Kelly said to Miller at one point of the grilling. "Try being a citizen being targeted by the IRS."
Here's the last part of Kelly's address that had audience members on their feet:
"This has nothing to do with political parties. This has to do with highly targeted groups. This reconfirms everything the American public believes. This is a huge blow to the faith and trust that the American people have in their government.
"Is there any limit to the scope where you folks can go? ... My goodness. 'How much money do you have in your wallet? Who do you get emails from? Whose sign do you put up in your front yard?' This is a tax question? And you don't think that's intimidating? It's sure as hell intimidating.
"And I don't know that I got any answers from you today ... There's a heck of a lot more that has to come out in this. Any anybody that sat here today and listened to what you had to say, I am more concerned today than I was before, and the fact that you all can do just about anything you want to anybody?
"You know, you can put anybody out of business that you want. Any time you want. I gotta tell you. You could talk about how you're a horribly run organization, if you're on the other side of the fence, you're not giving that excuse. And the IRS comes in, you're not allowed to be shoddy, you're not allowed to be run horribly, you're not allowed to make mistakes, you're not allowed to do one damn thing that doesn't come in compliance, and if you do, you're held responsible right then.
"I just think the American people have seen what's going on right now in their government. This is absolutely an overreach and this is an outrage for all Americans."
Congressmen Brady and Kelly hit a home run with their statements. Well said.
By Jim Zbick