Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) on Thursday blasted President Barack Obama’s recent claim that there was “not even a smidgen of corruption” involved in the Internal Revenue Service’s alleged targeting of conservative groups.
House subcommittee on Economic Growth, Job Creation, and Regulatory Affairs member Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., right, and Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, left, participate in the subcommittee's hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, to investigate the Justice Department's investigation into the IRS abuse scandal. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
“The president says there’s not a ‘smidgen’ of criminality or corruption,” Gowdy said during a hearing of the House Oversight And Government Reform Committee on the IRS scandal.
“Do either of you,” he said, addressing two Tea Party leaders who appeared to testify on their experiences with the IRS, “remember seeing a witness named Lois Lerner, sitting at the very table y’all are sitting at?”
Lerner, formerly in charge of the IRS' tax-exempt organization division, ignited the scandal in May after she apologized for the agency’s handling of conservative groups. She later invoked the Fifth Amendment and resigned her post in September.
“Do you remember her invoking her Fifth Amendment privilege? The same privilege that she targeted some of your groups for trying to educate people about?” Gowdy asked. “Some of your groups just want to simply educate people about the Constitution -- the one she availed herself of the very second she was exposed to criminal investigation.”
“So how can the president say there’s not a ‘smidgen’ of criminality when Lois Lerner invoked the Fifth Amendment? Forty-one witnesses haven’t been interviewed, including the two who are here right now!” he added. “How can he possibly draw that conclusion?"
Watch the South Carolina representative's heated take on Obama's assessment:
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This post has been updated.