During a tense hearing Thursday on the Internal Revenue Service scandal, Illinois Republican Rep. Peter Roskam crumpled a heavily-redacted IRS report, shouting “This is junk!” and vowing to end the agency’s “Kafka-esque” stonewalling.
Acting IRS chief Daniel Werfel tried to explain to the House Ways and Means Committee that the agency released redacted documents to protect taxpayer information, an argument that appeared to only incense Roskam further.
“We also have a solemn responsibility to protect the confidentiality of their taxpayer information, and these procedures are set up, they’re set up so that we redact this information,” Werfel said. “Although we send all of it to the chairs of Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committee, so that it’s outside the IRS. And to the extent that there is a notion and a concern that there’s over-redaction, that’s something that we need –”
“Over-redact–? This is junk,” Roskam said, cutting off Werfel, crumpling up the report and tossing it onto his desk. “This is junk. This has no meaning.”
“It might be junk, but it might have sensitive taxpayer information,” Werfel protested.
“It’s not! We know it’s not. And you’re hiding behind it, and I’m telling you, I’m putting you on notice. This committee intends to uphold the 1998 act,” Roskam said. “And we’re going to follow through with it to make sure the IRS is forthcoming and not creating a bunch of nonsense hiding behind bureaucratic doubletalk.”
Earlier in the hearing, Roskam said the U.S. was nearing a “tipping point,” thanks to an “awakening amongst the governed about authority they have delegated … has been abused.”