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Senate panel makes bipartisan demand for internal IRS documents

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The chairman and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee are demanding that the IRS turn over a voluminous cache of information and documents by the end of the month.

The 41 separate demands include copies of any and all questions used by the agency to get additional information from groups seeking nonprofit status since Feb. 1, 2010, about their relationships with political candidates and “a list of all words and phrases used by the IRS to target applications for additional scrutiny,” including words and phrases not reported in a recent inspector general’s audit.

“While the … report does not say that the IRS was intentionally partisan, it did find that the agency’s use of narrow screening criteria ‘gives the appearance that the IRS is not impartial in conducting its mission,’” Sen. Max Baucus, Montana Democrat and Sen. Orrin Hatch, Utah Republican, write in the letter, dated Monday. “These actions by the IRS appear to be a clear breach of the public’s trust. Targeting groups based on their political views is not only inappropriate but it is also intolerable.”

The senators also requested a narrative response to the 41 inquiries, and wrote that the “documents should be provided, where possible or practicable, in a searchable or sortable electronic format, such as Excel or PDF.”

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