Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., questions ousted IRS Chief Steve Miller and J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, as they testify during a hearing at the House Ways and Means Committee on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) practice of targeting applicants for tax-exempt status based on political leanings on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Friday, May 17, 2013. Credit: AP
The gallery at the House Ways and Means Committee Friday had to be called to order after it burst into applause and some gave a standing ovation following an impassioned diatribe against the IRS by Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Mike Kelly.
Kelly took his time during the hearing on the IRS's targeting of conservatives to lambaste outgoing head Steven Miller, reminding Miller that while the IRS would like to chalk the organization's recent actions up to a mistake, regular Americans do not get that luxury when dealing with the IRS.
"If you think it's uncomfortable sitting over there you ought to be a private individual when the IRS is across from you asking you questions," Kelly began, and that set the tone for the subsequent four minutes.
Some of the highlights:
• "I have a grandson who's afraid to get out of bed at night because he thinks there's someone under the bed that's going to grab him. And I think most Americans feel that way about the IRS."
• "This kind of reconfirms that, you know what, they [the IRS] can do almost anything they want to anybody they want, anytime they want. This is very chilling for the American people."
• "This is a Pandora's Box that has been opened and I don't think we can get the lid back on it."
• "I don't believe the White House just found out about this in a news report."
• "I got to tell you, where you're sitting, you should be outraged -- and you're not. The American people should be outraged, and they are."
• "This reconfirms everything the American public believes! This is a huge blow to the faith and trust the American people have in their government!"
• "Is there any limit to the scope of where you folks can go?"
• "It's sure as hell intimidating. And I don't' know that I got any answers from you today."
• "I am more concerned today than I was before. 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 anytime you want."
• "And when 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. If you do, you're held responsible right then."
• "This is absolutely an overreach and this is an outrage for all America!"
You can watch the impassioned speech below and watch the gallery erupt:
The Associated Press even captured pictures of the standing ovation:
Audience members applaud after Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., not pictured, questioned ousted IRS Chief Steve Miller as he testified on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Friday, May 17, 2013, before the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) practice of targeting applicants for tax-exempt status based on political leanings. Credit: AP
Members of the audience stand and applaud after Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., criticized Steven Miller, the ousted chief of the Internal Revenue Service, as the House Ways and Means Committee focused on the extra scrutiny the IRS gave Tea Party and other conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, May 17, 2013. Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin sits at front left. Credit: AP
The committee chairman eventually got the crowd to settle down.