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Awkward: Former IRS Head Says He 'Really Can't Recite the Constitution' When Pressed by GOP Rep.


"I don't necessarily have the Constitution memorized, sir."

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 22: Former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman testifies before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee May 22, 2013 in Washington, DC. The committee is investigating allegations that the IRS targeted conservative non-profit organizations with the words 'tea party' and 'constitution' in their names for additional scrutiny. Credit: Getty Images

Republican Kerry Bentivolio speaks at his election night party in Novi, Mich., Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. Credit: AP

Things got awkward during the House Oversight Committee's second IRS hearing on Wednesday when Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI), while seemingly making a larger point, couldn't get former IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman to acknowledge certain amendments to the Constitution.

After confirming that the IRS requires ethics training, Bentivolio was trying to figure out if the IRS required training on the Constitution. He may have got his answer despite Shulman's response saying he couldn't give one.

"Did you study the Constitution?" Bentivolio asked.

"I went to law school," Shulman responded.

"You went to law school. Did you study the Constitution?"

"I believe I took Constitutional law, but I'm not prepared to take an exam at this time," Shulman said with a chuckle. "Meaning I'll answer any of your question but I can't promise that I'm an expert."

"Well, you know the First, Second Amendment and one of my favorites, the 19th, right? You know those?" Bentivolio asked.

"Excuse me," a seemingly confused Shulman responded.

"You know those amendments. The Constitutional amendments," Bentivolio said matter of factly. "You know the First, you know the Second, and you know the 19th."

"I don't necessarily have the Constitution memorized, sir."

"Okay, well, they're pretty general in what each one is. Like the First Amendment is the freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and freedom to petition the government for a redress of grievances. First Amendment, right?"

"I really can't recite the Constitution, sir," Shulman concluded.

To be fair, there are likely many who couldn't recite every amendment on command.

But Bentivolio seemed to be trying to show that the Constitution should be held in just as high as regard as ethics.



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