Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Wednesday roused the hundreds who gathered for a Tea Party rally on Capitol Hill by calling for the dismissal of the thousands of Internal Revenue Service agents responsible for implementing President Obama’s healthcare law.
The IRS has admitted to giving extra scrutiny to organizations applying for tax-exempt status that are affiliated with the Tea Party. Some conservatives have framed the scandal as an example of government overreach that will extend to the implementation of the president’s signature legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act.
“I think we can have freedom, security, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights,” Paul continued. “I’m horrified that my government has gotten out of control and is persecuting people for their political and religious beliefs, and it needs to end now.”
Paul singled out Lois Lerner, the IRS official at the center of the controversy who last month invoked her Fifth Amendment rights in an appearance before Congress.
The Kentucky Republican accused Lerner of using the “bullying nature of government” to intimidate political opponents.
“We’re sick and tired of government bullies and we need to send them home,” he said.
Paul also joked that he had stolen Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) phone to throw National Security Agency officials off his scent.
“I woke up this morning and I couldn’t find my cellphone, so I asked Harry Reid if I could borrow his,” Paul said. “You think the NSA is going to be surprised when they see Harry Reid at a Tea Party?"