Thousands of protesters staged a large rally on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol Wednesday to broadcast their grievances against the Internal Revenue Service and what they described as an intrusive federal government.
The rally comes amid several active probes into the improper targeting of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status by IRS officials.
It was a busy day for Rob Boysen. He drove to D.C. from Pennsylvania to meet with his congressman and sought a spot on the Capitol’s west lawn to add his voice to those displeased with the IRS.
"For the IRS to be as invasive, as intrusive, and as discriminatory as they've been toward different groups whether they're liberal or conservative is just wrong," Boysen says.
Billed as the largest Tea Party protest in three years, the "Audit the IRS" rally drew supporters from as far away as Texas and from the shadows of the nation’s capital.
"Listen to the people and stop taxing us and taking away our wealth against our rights," says Robert Broadus of Clinton, Md. "Represent us."
While a line-up of congressional conservatives addressed the crowd outside the Capitol, inside FBI director Robert Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee more than a dozen FBI agent are aggressively investigating the IRS’ scrutiny of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.
"I'm like most Americans, horrified that my government has gotten out of control and is persecuting people for their religious and their political beliefs and it needs to end now," says Rand Paul (R-KY).
It was a tough sell on the crowd seeking accountability with the IRS and charges against whomever at the IRS may have violated civil rights laws by targeting specific groups. The White House calls the practice inexcusable, a claim many aren’t buying.
"Unless you're willing to get out and support your causes and take note of what's going on then you deserve what you get," says Kevin Bargy of Virginia.