- Sen. Tom Coburn vows to slow down budget-busting bills ahead of recess
- Obama fantasizes about more executive power, signs new order on federal contractors
- Clintons call Klein, Halper, Kessler ‘a Hat Trick of despicable actors’: report
- Boehner accuses Obama of ‘legacy of lawlessness’
- Pro-marijuana group claims responsibility for Brooklyn Bridge flag swap
- Young adults shun Obamacare mostly due to cost: survey
- Stabbing attack on transgender girl, 15, was ‘bias motivated,’ police say
- LGBT adults still lean overwhelmingly toward Democratic Party
- Lawmakers rattled by Syria genocide horrors, call on Obama to act
- 3 African leaders cancel trip to U.S. over Ebola outbreak; Obama still plans summit
IRS IG: Audit never labeled groups ‘conservative’ or ‘liberal’
Question of the Day
The chief watchdog who discovered the extra IRS scrutiny of conservative groups on Thursday rejected Democratic efforts to portray his investigation as partisan, saying Internal Revenue Service officials withheld key information about a lookout list for some liberal groups until last week.
Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George testified that it was Lois Lerner, the former head of the division that handled tax-exempt applications, who said the agency targeted conservatives.
“It is imperative for me to emphasize that our audit never labeled groups as ‘conservative’ or ‘liberal,’” he said.
Still, Mr. George’s numbers indicate that far more of the 298 political groups seeking tax-exempt status during the 2010 and 2012 elections singled out for intrusive scrutiny had “tea party” or other conservative labels in their names. None of the cases used “occupy” in the name, while just seven had “progress” or “progressive.”
Amid the confusion, Republicans and Democrats traded barbs over the direction of the investigation into the IRS.
But it was Mr. George who was on the defensive during much the hearing — a stark contrast from when the lawmakers’ ire was directed at the IRS during Mr. George’s testimony in May. Then, Mr. George, had just issued a report saying IRS agents in a Cincinnati office improperly singled out the conservative groups. He blamed ineffective management for allowing the practice to continue for more than 18 months, delaying hundreds of applications for more than a year.
Democrats are upset that his initial report did not flag terms such as “progressive,” “progress” or “occupy” Wall Street that also were used on “be on the lookout” (BOLO) lists for additional scrutiny.
“If all of the groups are on the table, one concludes targeting only after comparing the groups, and I don’t see evidence of that kind of rigorous comparison, Mr. George, in your work,” said Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat who represents the District of Columbia.
Mr. George replied by saying that “occupy” groups, for example, were on a watch list but not on the political advocacy tab his team was provided by IRS officials and charged with looking at in the audit.
Mr. George, an appointee of President George W. Bush, also pointed out that he was a page at the 1980 Democratic National Convention and a founder of the Howard University College Democrats before he “saw the light” and joined the Senate staff of Republican Bob Dole in college.
“But I think anyone who has worked with me on either side of the political spectrum will agree that I call it as I see it. I have never allowed personal or political views to affect decisions,” he said.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, South Carolina Republican, chided others for trying to find tangential political connections in Mr. George’s work.
“Keep going. Keep at it, and don’t let the detractors get you down,” Mr. Gowdy said.
Rep. Michael R. Turner, Ohio Republican, agreed.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
David Sherfinski covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Williams: "I didn't want anyone to know" about dealings with McDonnell
- Trips, loans for McDonnell family detailed at trial
- Star witness in Bob McDonnell corruption trial refutes 'crush' defense
- Defense lawyer: McDonnell's wife had 'crush' on CEO
- Wilder, Cuccinelli may be called as witnesses in McDonnell trial
Latest Blog Entries
- Dick Cheney: Hillary Clinton 'clearly bears responsibility' on Benghazi
- Holder vows to press ahead on gun control fight
- Seven of 10 prefer that Obama work with Congress, not go around it: Poll
- Schumer: Tea party hasn't let Obama put his policies into effect
- GOP official: Black not running for Wolf's House seat
TWT Video Picks
By Ted Cruz
Israel saves its enemies; Hamas endangers its friends
- Inside the Ring: Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- GOP leaders delay border bill, leave Obama in control
- Army's 3-D printed bombs to create 'a whole new universe' of lethal capabilities
- CIA admits improperly hacking Senate computers in search of Bush-era information
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Report: 40% of weapons sent to Afghanistan are unaccounted for
- U.S. troops told not to eat, drink in front of Muslims during Ramadan
- Catholic League slams Obama: 'Do Christian lives mean so little to you?'
- Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world