Ted Cruz, the rock-ribbed conservative Texas senator who figures to be a factor in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, told thousands of conservatives Thursday morning that the IRS should go the way of the dodo.
‘We need to abolish the IRS,’ he said, calling instead for a flat income tax rate and a user-friendly tax return that can be filed on a postcard.
That verbal gauntlet, thrown as much at a near-century of tax collection as at the Obama administration, was Cruz’s biggest applause line.
‘By virtue of your being here today,’ he jokingly cautioned the nation’s largest annual gathering of politically conservative activists, ‘tomorrow each and every one of you is going to be audited by the IRS.’
On Wednesday the former IRS official in charge of vetting nonprofit groups that seek tax-exempt charitable status refused, for the second time, to tell a congressional committee what she knew about the scandal.
Lois Lerner claimed the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment afforded the right to remain silent, despite a party-line ruling from the House Oversight Committee that she waived that privilege by offering a lengthy opening statement in a May 2013 hearing.
More than 200 right-wing organizations, mostly those linked to the tea party movement, sat in limbo for as many as three years while the IRS dithered and held them up during two election cycles.
The agency is now moving toward new regulations that would allow it to codify the secret rules it used to screen out conservative organizations while quickly green-lighting liberals.
During a Super Bowl Sunday interview with Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly, President Barack Obama insisted that there was ‘not even a smidgen of corruption’ in his administration related to the controversy.
Channeling a character in the 1987 cult classic movie The Princess Bride, Cruz mocked the president for his choice of words.
‘You keep on using this word,’ he said, referring to ‘smidgen.’
‘I do not think it means what you think it means.’
The Conservative Political Action Conference, held near Washington, D.C. in suburban Maryland, will host a cavalcade of right-wing speakers, many of whom are likely to run for president in 2016.