IRS spied on tea party after granting tax-exempt status

Acting director says he is troubled by Lerner

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The numbers show, however, that more conservative groups were subject to scrutiny, both in initial applications and in the ongoing surveillance program.

Investigators said they still have to look through hundreds of thousands of pages of email and documents, though at this point Ms. Lerner, who ran the exempt organizations division, remains a chief focus of the inquiries.

She is on paid administrative leave but has not resigned. Her attorney didn’t return a message seeking comment on the latest questions.

Ms. Lerner declined to testify to Congress this year, citing her right against self-incrimination, though she did give a brief statement declaring her innocence.

Some congressional Republicans said that statement amounts to a waiver of her Fifth Amendment rights and want to call her back and compel her to testify.

On Wednesday, members of the subcommittee peppered Mr. Werfel with questions about Ms. Lerner.

Rep. Tom Reed, New York Republican, said Ms. Lerner has few friends left on Capitol Hill and prodded Mr. Werfel for answers about her emails, which some Republicans say show clear bias against tea party groups that sought tax-exempt status.

Mr. Werfel said he has not had any recent conversations with Ms. Lerner and did not know what Ms. Lerner meant in some of the more controversial emails — though they did concern him enough that he flagged them for the inspector general.

Mr. Reed lashed out at Mr. Werfel after he refused to say whether he asked Ms. Lerner to resign. “I will hold you accountable!” Mr. Reed shouted.

Mr. Werfel said that he would consult with his staff and his legal counsel about privacy laws and get back to Mr. Reed with an answer if possible.

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