Issues of the Day

Floor Speech

Date: May 23, 2013
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. PEARCE. I thank the gentleman for yielding, and we will hold those comments quietly between ourselves here.

You bring up a point that absolutely must be discussed in public. We need to highlight those things that are going on right now from our government towards its citizens.

Our Founding Fathers understood this policy very well, this concept. They said:

When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty.

I hear constantly from people in America right now that we fear the government, we fear the retribution, we fear that they're going to come in and take things from us, that they're listening to us at all times. Many would discard that as simply paranoia, until now.

An 83-year-old grandmother in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who I've known for the last 15 years, since I've gotten into political circles--she's probably the most joyful, ebullient person in all of politics because she's here for what comes in the heart, not for what it can do for her. You see, she's a naturalized citizen who was born in Indonesia.

She came here and ended up, from ages 12 to 16, spending time in the Japanese internment camps because of her origin, though she's not Japanese herself. She has experienced the government that would become heavy-handed in a time of war. But the government that would become heavy-handed over political processes is a completely different government than that during World War II.

She helped establish the Children's Freedom Scholarship Fund, where she hands out patriotic coloring books to youngsters in the Albuquerque area. And because of these activities that got the attention of the IRS, they came in and audited and harassed this 83-year-old grandmother.

I had an email before the scandal broke about one of my constituents in Socorro, who said: I was audited and we couldn't figure out why. I talked to my accountant. During the audit, we couldn't figure it out. There was no unusual question. But during the audit, I noticed a handwritten name across my file, and I just made mental note of it.

After an audit that asked nothing specific, the auditor asked, Do you know--and he read the name. The guy says, It doesn't ring a bell to me. It did not. On the drive home, he said, Wait a minute. That's that meeting I went to 3 years ago. That's the meeting where I said, I don't want to be a part of this group. They're interested in the Constitution and the debt. I know about all that stuff. He writes a small check, leaves and never goes back. One meeting with the guy who later formed the Tea Party--it wasn't even formed--causes an audit.

When our government knows this kind of minute information and is willing to single you out, to veritably persecute you, because persecution is when we're dealt with differently, we have a different set of rules, that then qualifies as persecution. When this government is willing to do that, it causes us to say, Wait. This is not paranoia. This is justifiable fear of our government.

A small school in my hometown wanted to charter itself and submitted a 501(c)(3) application. The application was never handled. It went on and on and on. Our office made a call, and then the person listed on the organizational chart was called in for an audit.

I will tell you that we were told by the administration spokesman yesterday, Mr. Lew, the Treasury Secretary, that there's absolutely no indication that this was anything political.

There's absolutely no indication that it was anything but political, Mr. Lew. Regardless of what you all say down the street, understand that the American people are frightened of the government. They also think, with respect to the idea that we're going to hold people accountable--we hear that: We're going to hold people accountable; we're going to bring them in; we're going to look; we're going to find the facts, and then we're going to hold them accountable.

The American people look with a little bit of curious disregard for those statements.

Why would Americans be suspicious of the government, that they won't actually do anything to the people who are involved, that they won't actually get to the bottom of it? Well, there's a track record in the last 5 years that has caused the American citizens to look with disdain at any promises that there will be penalties, that the wrongdoers would be punished.

You can start with the Fort Hood shooter. He has not yet been brought to trial. He murdered dozens of people, and he has drawn $287,000 in pay because they can't take him off the payroll until he comes to trial. Meanwhile, the victims can't get their pay from the government that they're supposed to receive, and the American people understand an injustice is occurring from this White House because they will not pursue convicting a man that everyone knows has committed murder.

Well, it's said that's one instance. We can, then, take a look at Fast and Furious. I was one of the first to call for Attorney General Holder to resign, and we should look more closely at his participation in the Fast and Furious,
where rifles were sent across the border and came back and killed an American employee of the Border Patrol. Yet no one has been held accountable for that action there.


Mr. PEARCE. I think the gentleman's points are well made, and to continue the discussion of why Americans might be skeptical about whether anyone will pay any price for what has happened in the targeting of certain groups in this country by the Internal Revenue Service, it's also important that we look at other cases that have not yet been prosecuted and in which wrongdoing occurred.

MF Global was a commodities trading firm. Jon Corzine, a Democrat-elected official, took over that firm. It's against the law, when you have your money in these trading accounts, whether it be Merrill Lynch or whoever, it is against the law to take your money out and use it for corporate governance activities, for corporate organizational activities. And yet Jon Corzine reached down into customer accounts and pulled out $1.5 billion of money from account holders and spent it trying to keep his failing organization together. His efforts failed. MF Global filed bankruptcy. That was in 2011, and still Mr. Corzine has not had to answer any questions, has been convicted of no wrongdoing, hasn't been brought to trial, and hasn't had a grand jury impaneled.

Bernie Madoff, we saw him take billions from investors. And for decades, the regulators had reports that he was doing it, and not one regulator has been held accountable for their oversights and omissions. No one has ever checked.

So when we hear the administration say, Trust us; we're going to get to the bottom of this IRS scandal and we're going to hold people accountable, there is an anger building among the American people that says we don't think that Washington will hold anyone accountable.

You have the AP reporters whose phone records were gotten, and not just the ones who were involved, but the broad pool of reporters, and yet nothing is happening to the people in the Justice Department who did that.

Benghazi is another element where we believe no one will ever be held accountable. In fact, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says, What does it matter?

What it matters, ma'am, is that someone allowed American soldiers to be killed without reinforcements. C-130s were within flying time. Drones were there. Lasers were locked onto the artillery that were firing rounds into that compound, and no one says a word.

And so we have the Internal Revenue Service investigating and holding audits for law-abiding citizens like this 83-year-old grandmother. Meanwhile, there are over $1 billion of unpaid taxes by Federal employees. Why doesn't the Internal Revenue Service go after the Federal employees who refuse to pay their own taxes.

The highest profile case is Mr. Geithner, who became Treasury Secretary; and we were told that he's such an important person, he can't be held to account for small actions like that. Yet one political party, one political viewpoint has been singled out by this administration in order to put the chill on people who might be involved in activities that would disagree with the government.

We've seen governments like this before in American history. We've seen tyrants before. We've seen tyranny before in world history, and I think Democrats, Republicans, and Independents are going to stand up on these issues and demand accountability from Washington. I think the American people are coming together with a will and a backbone that will stand up and say, You, the people who perpetrated these evils and these crimes, will be accountable.

That's what makes this country great. That's what makes this country the envy of all other nations because we have a Constitution that our Founding Fathers put in

place which gives the people the power. The government is working at the approval of the American people. I think the American people are coming together across racial lines, across party lines, across religious and cultural lines to say that we demand accountability from our government officials, that we will not allow any citizen to be treated this way.

The Nation spoke this way when it was Richard Nixon, and I think the Nation will speak this way under this administration. The parallels are extreme. When the government gets too strong, it's time for the people to stand up and say, No, you are not all powerful, that we the people do establish and ordain.

I think the people of this country are going to question this establishment and are ordaining. I appreciate the opportunity to speak.


Mr. PEARCE. I am. I've been there many times. They're people concerned about small government. They're concerned about the debt and the deficit. They understand that these are the biggest risks that we face, and they speak articulately and coherently about that. They are also groups that hold elected officials accountable for their actions. I think those are positive things.


Mr. PEARCE. We had been listening. Before everyone recognized it was a nationwide scandal, we were hearing these reports. No matter that we disagreed with the Obama administration on policies, we never believed these reports to be true. So we investigated, but you could never substantiate. And now, then, 2 and 3 and 4 years later, to find out that it was systemic, that it was intentional, and that it was politically motivated causes one to fear for the very institution that we call our Constitution and our government.


Mr. PEARCE. Yes, I would agree with the gentleman. Something seems awry.

The American people have a fascinating intuitiveness about them. It's reported that the unions spent $40 million to defeat Scott Walker. The reason Scott Walker won, he won 40 percent of the union vote.

People who are supposedly represented by the union bosses understand that when their leadership begins to take this country in the wrong direction, that they will exercise their voices and they will speak up; and that's the very powerful reminder that we, as people, have at the ballot box.

When the American people are left without government interference, without government threats, without the IRS intimidation, the American people choose rightly an awfully big percentage of the time. So I have the ultimate belief, because I'm hearing Democrats here on Capitol Hill as outraged as Republicans. I heard Republicans under the Nixon administration as outraged as Democrats.

It's when we come together in a common belief that our Nation, regardless of political viewpoints, represents all viewpoints, that we all have a right to speak, that we all have a right to compel. That's what's made us strong through our history.

And so those Democrats who now are saying that the IRS and this administration have gone too far are the strength of this country, as Republicans were under the Nixon administration.

So I have the ultimate belief that we, as Americans, are coming together again in our core principles to understand that no government, no matter which party, is powerful enough to come in and have watchdogs over us, to allow members of their party to take $1.5 billion from segregated accounts without being held accountable for the criminal actions.

They understand that we cannot break the laws of this Nation and other nations, sending guns to a foreign country illegally; not even the government can do that.

And they understand there's something intrinsically wrong when we hear the pleas of our four embassy personnel saying we need help, and we refuse it.

The American people have had enough. It doesn't matter that it's Democrat. If it was a Republican, it would be enough too. And I think the American people are coalescing into an idea that we are a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

And I believe that coalescing is going to provide us the framework for a new political institution. Don't know what it'll look like, don't know how it's going to shape up, but the American people are saying that enough

is enough. Enough corruption. Enough scandals. Let's start cleaning out the mess. And that's what I hear from constituents from both parties every week I'm at home.

We're going to continue our work here, but I thank the gentleman for yielding and appreciate his bringing this issue to the floor.