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House panel probes IRS targeting of conservative groups

The firestorm buffeting the Internal Revenue Service intensified yesterday as lawmakers began what they promised would be an extensive effort to learn whether there was any political motivation or White House involvement in the agency’s recently acknowledged misdeeds.

Fueling those concerns, Russell George, the Treasury Department’s top tax watchdog, said yesterday he had informed top Treasury officials last summer about problems related to the special attention the agency was paying some conservative organizations seeking tax-exempt status. George said he shared the information with the Treasury’s general counsel in June and with Deputy Treasury
Secretary Neal Wolin “shortly thereafter.”

Such a timeline could be significant, as Republicans have been trying to establish how early the Obama administration learned about the agency’s conduct, which officials were informed and whether the coming presidential election affected their response.

The agency officials on the front lines of the controversy deny any political motives and say the problems were mostly the result of sloppy work.

At a hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee yesterday, Steven Miller, the former acting commissioner of the IRS, apologized for what he described as “horrible customer service” following revelations that IRS employees singled out
conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status for special scrutiny.

Miller, who resigned Wednesday, acknowledged “foolish mistakes” and described some of what occurred as “obnoxious,” but insisted that none of it was politically driven.

“We provided horrible customer service here. I will admit that,” Miller said. “Whether it was politically motivated or not is a very different question.”

Republicans were unconvinced and envision a more nefarious set of circumstances.

“The reality is, this is not a personnel problem,” said Rep. Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican and the committee’s chairman. “This is a problem of the IRS being too large, too powerful, too intrusive and too abusive of honest, hardworking taxpayers.”

Camp said he believed the problem reaches beyond the tax-collection agency.

“This appears to be just
the latest example of a culture of cover-ups and political intimidation in this administration,” he said. “It seems like the truth is hidden from the American people just long enough to make it through an election.”

Legacy Comments27

Even CBS News has connected the dots - this is a big crack in the Obama armor of the 3 big alphabet media monkeys that see no evil....hear no evil....speak no evil

"The progressives have infiltrated every aspect of our lives. It appears we can´t get away from their ideology in our culture, news media, entertainment, education, or government. It so permeates government agencies that doing whatever it takes to advance their agenda is automatic. It is so engrained in their thinking that it is their "go to" response. Everything for the state. The IRS is just the tip of the iceberg. You can follow their agenda right back to Fast &Furious, Benghazi, the AP phone taps, and IRS discrimination. What we see as an affront to liberty and freedom the progressives see as success. We are the only thing standing in the way to their socialist utopia."

anybody remember the New Black Panthers intimidation case in Philadelphia that Obama did not prosecute ?

Democrats who suspect Obama was behind this and are afreid that he did..... it raise your hands. That´s all of you, huh?

Obama Chicago THUG politics......"It is now safe to say that if one cannot see the abject evil of the Obama administration as well as the endemic corruption and criminality in our federal government, it is only because they are refusing to look"....the next Scandals have arrived......1) Congressmen: Conservative Car Dealers Targeted for GM Closures by Obama 2) Obama IRS sued for seizing 60 million medical records

Is it too much to ask of the Monitor to detail Shaheens involvement in the IRS politically charged witch hunt? The IRS after all, acted on the suggestion by Shaheen to target these groups. Now I ask you which is worse...Ayotte voting on a bill...or Shaheen, engaged in McCarthyite tactics to target specific political groups????? Your silence is quite deafening Monitor Editors.

Oh look..a new puzzle to keep the (insert derogatory term for Shaheen supporters here) happy.

Dont' forget GWTW the Prez called out the Supremes on TV about the citizen's united verdict. He was giving a message there. Then we get the letter from the senators to the IRS. Then the IRS decides to implement a new bookkeeping system based on groups that have names like Patriots, TP, etc. Coincidence?

Miller sat there at the hearing and was arrogant, said he did not remember, or did not know. The head of the IRS does not know. Sat there and lied about when this was brought up, reported to the treasury dept, etc. The "I have no clue" excuse. It would be laughable if it was not so troubling. The prez rips the Supreme Court about Citizen's United on National TV. Senators, including Shaheen, write a letter to the IRS stating to make sure they watch political groups applying for non profit . Miller says this was not targeting, just bookkeeping made easier. Notice that bookkeeping system was based on words like TP, Patriot etc. Even a conservative Jewish Group was targeted. The woman in charge at the time is now going to work her magic for the ACA to collect taxes from you, make sure you buy health insurance, etc. Hopefully your name will not be signaled out because her new bookkeeping system will go after folks that have an R after their name, or have a savings account with 10 grand in it, or donated to a religious charity.

All this is in no way surprising. Obama is a thug. It's in his DNA. Those who say the FBI should investigate are truly naive. This screams independent council. Otherwise, what little faith the public still has in our government will disappear completely. This is as bad as it gets.

And your claims are based on what evidence? There is ZERO evidence linking this over-zealous but understandable (in my view) behavior by the IRS to the White House. The IRS is a tax collection agency. It investigated requests for tax-exempt status by groups vociferously declaring hostility to paying taxes, and even hostility for the very concept of taxation itself (the claim by some that taxation is "theft", as is their right under the 1st Amendment). Moreover, the word "patriot" has in the past been used by far-right survivalist militia groups with neo-Nazi ties and domestic terrorism roots. To sum up the IRS behavior: overzealous due-diligence--the IRS was right to make inquiries, but wrong to make TP groups jump through so many hoops. This brouhaha should force us to reexamine the issue of tax-exempt status and "charitable" groups.

The timeline is there Bruce. Miller lied about when the Treasury was informed. That has been proven. I am not surprised you would find it acceptable to target these groups. I would assume in that case, you would be fine with a republican administration targeting liberal groups correct? You are going to have to become more creative to justify the IRS wielding it's power. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Must be tough having 3 scandals to deal with.I am sure the CM will help assist you by making sure they keep all the news regarding these scandals to a minimum.

Exactly what has been "proven"? As usual, the claims emanating from the usual suspects change daily. I responded to claims made by a poster leaping to conclusions that are unwarranted by the facts at hand--though that doesn't stop Faux and friends and their viewers from eager speculation and hope that the IRS affair is linked to the WH. Each time a problem develops the right does its darndest to turn it into a scandal, claiming that "it's bigger than Watergate" and impeachment is likely right around the corner. There is ZERO evidence that the IRS actions have any connection to the White House, and are anything other than the actions of over-zealous bureaucrats. And nowhere in my post did I say it was acceptable behavior. I think this one will disappoint you, just like Benghazi will. Sorry for your loss.

Mr Currie, the NYT reported that the Obama administration was aware of the fact that the IRS was targeting Tea Party groups as far back as June of 2012. The Treasury Department's Inspector General confirmed that he told senior Treasury officials in June of 2012, a full five months before Election Day.

Reply to GWTW below: Not quite. The Treasury Dept. was informed of the IG's probe in June 2012. Your assumptions are 1) that Treasury informed the WH, and 2) that the IG already knew, before investigating, that the IRS was targeting only certain TP groups (the larger ones were left alone), and no Democratic or liberal groups were targeted. What would you have had the White House do? Non-disclosure during an election is not the same as engaging in a coverup, is not criminal, and is a pragmatic political choice. It certainly does not rise to the level of Watergate crimes. You'd prefer they had publicized the IG investigation? It might have made sense to get ahead of the story, launch its own investigation, and fire some IRS types (several of whom were Bush appointees). The fact the WH did nothing to either promote or impede the investigation proves nothing about any degree of complicity in the IRS affair. All it proves is that some will wait for evidence before making charges, others will make charges and assume the evidence is there. And just as with Benghazi, in the end I think they'll be disappointed.

What is with this blaming the present administration entirely. The TP'ers were a much bigger threat to the established GOP than they ever were to democrats. This whole investigation started prior to the last election and know all of a sudden it is a big deal. As to the TP being unfairly targeted there is little question. However in all fairness these so called TP groups were coming out of the woodwork at the time. Seems to me it is still business as usual in DC, so the TP were treated the same way the liberal activists and groups were back in the 60's. What goes around comes around, this is not a new issue.

To mauser below. You said "This whole investigation started prior to the last election and know all of a sudden it is a big deal." Its a big deal because for the first time, we have heard from actual witnesses, no thanks to the Obama regime.

So, you are saying that the IRS did nothing wrong? Equal protection under the law means equal protection and equal treatment. No liberal or progressive groups were targeted, only conservative groups. Beyond that, the list suggested by Democrat Congress members was the list that was used by the IRS. None of those groups were awarded tax exempt status until after the election. You see no impropriety there. Then there were the lies leading up to the investigation; this IS a Watergate moment.

Rep. Dave Camp said " he believed" and "it appears", what he fails to do is present one factual item showing how high the orders came from. Investigate it and let the chips fall where they may. It's sad that we are in a point in history that it is more important to make the opposition (regardless of party) look bad 100% of the time rather than working on the real problems. I'm not condoning this in any manner but this gets bigger every day in accusations and no facts. A simple FBI investigation should be enough to find out who said what. It used to be follow the money, I believe now it is follow the e-mails.

No...I think you are forgetting history in regards to the FBI and the IRS.

"It's sad that we are in a point in history that it is more important to make the opposition (regardless of party) look bad 100% of the time rather than working on the real problems."..I'd say using the IRS to target your political enemies is a real problem. You dont?

Unintentionally ironic comment of the day: " is more important to make the opposition look bad 100% of the time rather than working on the real problems."

Ahh Mr. Currie. Guilty of targeting conservatives..just like the IRS. You may want to read the comment string for a bit of context regarding the ironic comment.

"Targeting conservatives"? No, simply pointing out hypocrisy and unsubstantiated claims--a regular feature of those here belonging to the Carp Per Diem brigade. The fact most such claims come from the right could be coincidence, or it could be the result of the right wing media campaign of misinformation led by Faux News each day. You decide. Oh, wait, your mind is already made up.

Mr. Currie, are you aware of one Frank Vandersloot, who, after being singled out by name on Obamas campaign site, was then subjected to IRS and DOL scrutiny, costing him almost $100k in legal fees, which, by the way, ended up with no findings of wrongdoing. Banana-Republic enough for you?

Mark Steyn said it best regarding the IRS targets: "They’re nobodies — ordinary American citizens guilty of no crime except that of disagreeing with the ruling party. Yet they were asked, under “penalty of perjury,” to disclose the names of books they were reading and provide the names and addresses of relatives who might be planning to run for public office — a kind of pre-enemies list. Is that banana-republic enough for you yet?"...Yep.

Oh, I'm sorry, I was confused. When you said "Mark Steyn" and then "nobodies" . . . I thought you mean Steyn was a nobody.

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