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Rubio On IRS Scandal: Obama’s Culture Of Political Intimidation Leads To This Scandalous Behavior

May 15, 2013 | Press Releases

Excerpts from U.S. Senate Floor Speech
Senator Marco Rubio
May 15, 2013
Full Speech:


“So in the span of four days, [there were] three major revelations about the use of government power to intimidate those who are doing things that the government doesn’t like. These are the tactics of the third world. These are the tactics of places that don’t have the freedoms and the independence that we have here in this country. And it is shocking to Americans that this would come to light in the way that it has. I would submit to you, however, that none of this is new. That what we see emerging here is a pattern, a culture, a culture of intimidation, of hardball politics that we saw both on the campaign trail and now through the apparatus of government.”


“This is not just limited to the I.R.S. This is a culture of intimidation, a willingness to play hardball politics against your political opponents. Let’s not forget the case in South Carolina of Boeing, who decided to relocate, as any business has a right to do, in the United States of America. A business should have the right to locate its operations in any state it wants. Well, when Boeing decided to relocate from Washington state to South Carolina, the NLRB came after them in a complaint, which they claimed was on the merits, but it was very straightforward. They were going after them because the union in Washington state was upset about the move. And in fact, the case was dropped partially because of political pressure.  But interestingly enough, the effort was only abandoned after – after – they negotiated a contract deal with the union. Now listen, I can be up here all day and I intend to keep coming back to the floor and citing examples of this. But the point is, [what] we have going on now is a culture of hardball politics and intimidation which is unacceptable and should be chilling to every member of this body, Republican and Democrat. This is unacceptable behavior. But this is what you get with an administration, when an administration is all about politics. This administration is a 365-days-a-year, year-round political campaign. Every issue is a political campaign leading up to the election and even now, every issue is a wedge. Few times in the history of this country has anyone used this office to drive more wedges among the American people than this president and this administration. And so yes, this is the culture that has been created. ‘They’re bad and we’re good. Our enemies are bad people. The people who disagree with us on policy are bad people. You don’t support us on guns, you don’t care about children and families. You don’t support some measure against religious liberty, you’re waging a war on women.’ On issue after issue, a deliberate attempt to divide the American people against each other for the purposes of winning an election. That is the culture that’s been created, and that culture leads to this kind of behavior. Whether it was directed or not, we don’t know that. I’m not saying someone picked up the phone in the White House and said do these audits, leak this information. I am saying that when you create a culture where what’s rewarded is political advantage, when you create a culture in your administration where everything is politics 24 hours, seven days a week, when you create a culture where every issue that comes before the Congress is used to divide people against each other, to see who can get to 51% in the next election, when you create a culture like that, it leads to this kind of behavior throughout your administration.”


“And in the days to come, we’re going to be hearing more about this. We have a nominee right now to the Labor Department who has an admirable personal story which I admire and applaud but who has a history of using the government and his position in government to intimidate people to do what he wants them to do. I would submit to you that Mr. Perez’ nomination is bad for the country at any time, but in this administration, in this political culture after what we have learned in the last few days, even more so. And I hate to single him out, but that is one of the pending ones that are before us.”


“This same IRS that was willing to do this, this same IRS that was willing to target groups because of their political leanings, this same IRS that audited Mr. VanderSloot after he happened to appear on the Obama enemy list, this same IRS will now have unfettered power to come after every American and ensure that either you’re buying insurance or you’re paying them a tax. Every American business. The front lines of enforcing ObamaCare falls to the IRS. That is what happens when you expand the scope and power of government. It’s always sold as a noble concept. It’s always offered up by government as, ‘We’re going to give the government more power so they can do good things for us.’ But the history of mankind proves that every time a government gets too much power, it almost always ends up using it in destructive ways against the personal liberties of individuals.”


“And that’s why the framers of our Constitution were so wise to impose real constitutional limits on the power of our government, because they knew from history that this was the case. That’s why our Constitution says that unless government at the federal level is specifically given a power, it doesn’t have it. That’s why it says that. That’s why you see people stand up here on the floor and fight to protect the Constitution. That’s why these groups were formed around the country. Everyday Americans from all walks of life, people, some of whom had never been involved in politics before, who joined a Tea Party movement or a 912 movement because they feared the direction our country was going, and so they stood up and said, ‘This is wrong. This is why.’ This is why this adherence to the Constitution. Because the Constitution was based on the simple truth that if government has too much power, it almost always ends up destructive. Our framers knew better than to rely on good people being in government to take care of us. They understood that government’s power in order for us to have freedom and prosperity necessarily had to be limited, not because we’re anti-government. Of course we need a government. Who provides for our national defense?  Who is supposed to secure our borders when we’re having this immigration debate? These are important things our government needs to do. But if you give it too much power, it leads to these abuses. This is why the Constitution was so wise to limit the power of the federal government to its enumerated powers and leave to the government closest to the people most of the powers. And I think we should reexamine all these decisions that have been made that have expanded the scope and power of our government.”


“I don’t know how many people are aware of this, but early next year, every single one of you is going to have to buy insurance, health insurance that the government says is good enough. Maybe not the insurance you’re getting today that you’re happy with. And if you don’t buy that insurance, you are going to owe the IRS some money. That’s a tax to me. The same IRS that has shown a propensity to target people based on their political leanings. This is who we’ve empowered through ObamaCare. So this is what’s going on here. It’s not just one scandal at the IRS, it’s about a culture of hardball politics. I think in the days to come, we’re going to learn a lot more about it and we’re not going to like what we learn. For example, you think about some of our most precious freedoms, the First Amendment right to free speech. Think about if you’re a reporter at the Associated Press. Think about if you are a source unrelated to national security to the Associated Press. Think about if you’re really a whistle-blower, someone who is blowing the whistle on government activity because you work in the government and you think what the government is doing is wrong. Think about that for a second. Now all of a sudden, what are you afraid of? ‘I’m not calling that reporter back because their phone might be tapped. My number may show up on their records.’ Because the Justice Department has just shown that they’re willing to do that. Think about the chilling effect that that sends up and down the government. If there is wrongdoing somewhere in the government right now, people are probably afraid to blow the whistle because they’re afraid that they are being surveilled by the Justice Department or that the person they’re talking to is being surveilled. That’s how outrageous this is. Think about people that are thinking about getting involved in the political process, contributing to a group or speaking out, donating to a campaign or a candidate as they are allowed to do under the Constitution. They don’t want to be the next VanderSloot. They don’t want to be the next guy being targeted. They don’t want to be the next person being smeared on a website. This is unacceptable. This is an outrage. And every single member of this body should be outraged by this behavior – this culture of intimidation, these hardball politics tactics. We cannot stand for this. And I hope we will be united in condemning this and ensuring we get to the bottom of this with significant investigations and hearings from the committees in the Senate that have jurisdiction on the matter.”