Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Tuesday lashed out at fellow members of Congress for looking into how technology giant Apple is able to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes.
The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released a report on Monday detailing how Apple had used a network of offshore shell companies in recent year to avoid paying taxes.
At a committee hearing on Tuesday, Paul was livid that Apple CEO Tim Cook was asked to testify.
"I'm offended by a $4 trillion government bullying, berating and badgering one America's greatest success stories," the Kentucky Republican told the committee. "Tell me what Apple has done that is illegal?"
Paul added that he was also "offended" that that the IRS would "bully" tea party groups.
"If anyone should be on trial here, it should be Congress," he insisted. "I frankly think the committee should apologize to Apple. I think that the Congress should be on trial here for creating a bizarre and Byzantine tax code that runs into the tens of thousands of pages, for creating a tax code that simple doesn't compete with the rest of the world."
Subcommittee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) pointed out that Paul was free to apologize, but "this subcommittee is about investigating a tax code that is not working for the American people, is not working for businesses in this country, which some business decide how many taxes they're going to pay, how many they won't, what they're going to leave offshore in terms of profit, cooking up all kinds of arrangements to avoid paying taxes."
"Apple is a great company, but no company -- no company should be able to determine how much it's going to pay in taxes, how many profits they're going to keep offshore, how they're going to bring them back home, using all kinds of gimmicks to avoid paying the taxes that should be paid to this country," the chairman insisted.
For its part, Apple has released a statement defending itself as "likely the largest corporate income tax payer in the US, having paid nearly $6 billion in taxes to the US Treasury in FY2012."
Paul will be in Apple's home state of California next week for fundraising and a speech at the Reagan Presidential Library.