Politics & Government

Pompeo: Ideas that may have sounded good led to loss of freedoms

Congressman Mike Pompeo said ideas that may have sounded good coming out of politicians’ mouths have been chipping away at freedom in America.

Pompeo, R-Wichita, speaking Friday at a Wichita Pachyderm Club luncheon, cited as examples the IRS targeting conservative groups and efforts by former Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius – head of Health and Human Services – to raise funds privately to help implement the Affordable Care Act.

Pompeo said the country hadn’t seen a president use the IRS the way President Obama has to harm groups that probably included some members of his luncheon audience at the Petroleum Club.

“The good idea was that if we centralize bureaucrats that are experts in evaluating whether a particular agency is entitled to a tax exemptions that we could make the country better,” he said.

Instead, it led to “a loss of freedom and an attack on conservatives and free-market believers all across the country,” Pompeo said.

Another idea that sounded good coming from this and previous administrations was bringing the so called “best and brightest” to Washington to solve the nation’s problems, Pompeo said. It has never worked, he said. Examples in the Obama administration: attorney general Eric Holder and Sebelius.

Pompeo endorsed Sen. Lamar Alexander’s recent comparison of Sebelius with Iran-Contra figure Oliver North. Both acted on their own to raise money privately after Congress denied them funds to do what they wanted, Pompeo said.

Sebelius is asking groups she regulates to help her fund “Enroll America,” a nonprofit formed to help implement the Affordable Care Act, Pompeo said.

“These are the kinds of things that happen when you have government engaged in fundamentally non-core functions,” Pompeo said in his speech.

Pompeo also criticized Obama’s speech on national defense last week, in which Obama tried to recast terrorists as thugs rather than enemy warriors and distance the United States from a war footing.

“I’ve never seen a president of the United States wave a surrender flag in the way that this president did,” Pompeo said. “While times are different than right after 9/11, a president who says the war on terror is over because he wishes it was so is not acting in the best interests of our country, and that’s essentially what he said.”

Pompeo also disagreed with Obama for saying the existence of the prison at Guantanamo Bay causes terrorists to come after us.

“It’s a sign of commitment, it’s a sign of strength,” Pompeo said. “It causes people who are thinking of doing harm to us to fear us, not to decide that they can come and attack us.”

Pompeo, who is on the House Intelligence Committee, said the investigation into the attack on the American embassy in Benghazi is nowhere near complete because many questions remain. Then he drew applause when he said, “We will not stop until we get the answers to those questions.”