Meehan: where's the accountability?

Congressman Patrick Meehan meets with his staff in his new office. ( Michael S. Wirtz / Staff Photographer ). 12/06/2011. EDITORS NOTE: SE1MEEHAN07. Tagging along with Pat Meehan on his first full day as a congressman.

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, a Delaware County Republican, ripped into the Obama administration responses to a series of controversies today, asking “where does the accountability begin?”

Lives and constitutional rights are at stake, he argued.

Meehan, questioning current and former IRS officials at a House hearing on the agency's enhanced scrutiny of conservative groups, linked that scandal with the many others swirling over the Obama administration.

“In all the scandals we hear the same thing from time after time by the government officials that are involved -- Benghazi, IRS, AP reporters, Fast and Furious – time after time we’re hearing people: ‘wasn’t my job, I don’t know, it was the other office, I recused, I didn’t find out about it until you found out about it.’ Where does the accountability begin?” Meehan asked.

“People lives are on the line in these things overseas, peoples’ constitutional rights are at stake here. Where does the accountability begin?” he asked.

Meehan, a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is the latest local lawmaker to get a formal chance to whack the IRS for its heavy-handed inquiries into conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

Sens. Bob Casey (D., Pa.), Bob Menendez (D., NJ) and Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) got their shots Tuesday at a Senate Finance Committee hearing (they are all panel members).

On Friday Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach, of Chester County, questioned IRS acting commissioner Steven Miller at a Ways and Means Committee hearing.

“All Americans deserve to be treated impartially and know that their private information will be kept confidential,” Gerlach said in a statement after the hearing. “It was extremely frustrating to hear Acting Commissioner Miller’s apparent lack of understanding of the gravity of the discriminatory and disturbing actions taken by IRS officials.”

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