The Republican chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee is promising to “ramp up” his investigation of the IRS.
“I think an arrogance at the IRS came across in bright colors and that was very disconcerting to all of us,” said Camp in an interview with Fox News on Friday.
“So now, we're not going to stop until we get all the answers that we need to get because, clearly, when we were trying to ask those before, they weren't forthcoming. And we're going to get to the bottom of this.”
Camp — along with House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) — is in the beginning stages of investigating the IRS, which has come under heavy fire this week after confirming that it gave extra scrutiny to conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.
Camp said he didn’t get enough solid answers out of the former acting-IRS chief, Steven Miller, whom President Obama forced to resign this week, and that it appears as though Congress had been intentionally misled by the agency.
“Absolutely, the IRS misled Congress,” said Camp. “We need to dig a lot deeper to find out where this goes. What really was clear, it was one political viewpoint that was targeted. It was one political viewpoint that was brought in for questioning that was so far off the chart, it's hard to believe.”
Miller told lawmakers on Friday that he did not think what the IRS did was illegal, which was taken as a poor attempt to respond to the deluge of tax-exempt status application they began receiving in 2011. At the direction of Attorney General Eric Holder, the FBI is also investigating the matter to determine whether criminal laws were broken.
Camp said there is no connection at this point between the White House and the agency’s decision to focus on groups with “Tea Party” or “patriot” in their names, but that his investigation was just getting warmed up.
“Clearly, this investigation is going to be ramped up,” said Camp. “I'm not exactly sure of the directions we're going to go, but we're going to ramp this up because we did not get the information we needed to get in today's hearing, and we're going to have to go to the next level.”
Camp said he plans to focus more intensely on the decision to release the information of the preferential treatment publicly before informing members of Congress, who had been asking for more details for more than a year after receiving complaints from Tea Party groups.
“Clearly what they did was staged the release of this information and completely ignored the Congress or official channels in terms of getting this out, and I think they thought they were going to get this behind them in a 24-hour news cycle,” said Camp.
“The fact that that was the plan makes me think that this was not just a few people in one area that knew about this or a few low-level people, and that others weren't involved in orchestrating a planned leak of this. It's a fairly sophisticated PR tactic, and I just question whether the IRS thought of that all by themselves…and we can now look further in that area.”