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Web-savvy politicians want to know what you think of them

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During an closely watched hearing on the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups, Rep. Jim Jordan revealed what most people suspected about politicians — they like to know what’s being said about them.

“We in our office, we have like a Google Alert and if my name comes up, they find out what the press is saying about me and they let me know,” the Ohio Republican said Wednesday from the dais of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Mr. Jordan wanted to know if former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman was aware of press stories outlining Republican lawmakers’ suspicions in 2012 that tea party groups were being singled out for extra scrutiny by the division that handles tax-exempt organizations.

He and other lawmakers want to know why Mr. Shulman and his successor at the IRS did not take immediate action when there was some evidence of political targeting, instead of relying on an inspector general to finish an audit.

The audit was not released until this month, setting off a political firestorm on Capitol Hill.

“Did you have like a Google Alert when stories about the IRS or Doug Shulman come up? Did they let you know about those stories?” Mr. Jordan asked.

“IRS has press clippings that I … saw on a regular basis when I was there,” Mr. Shulman said.

“Would you hazard a guess about how many major news stories in this time period that is in question when the targeting was going on, before you said you knew?” the congressman asked.

“No, I wouldn’t,” the former commissioner replied.

“Forty-two,” Mr. Jordan said. “We just did a quick search — 42 major news stories.”

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