The man who led the Internal Revenue Service when it was giving extra scrutiny to Tea Party and other conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status told Congress on Tuesday that he knew little about what was happening while he was still commissioner.
A new survey finds that a majority of Americans believe that the Internal Revenue Service deliberately targeted conservative groups.
The former head of the Internal Revenue Service heads to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, giving lawmakers their first opportunity to question the man who ran the agency when agents were improperly targeting tea party groups.
White House chief of staff Denis McDonough and other senior advisers knew in late April that an impending report was likely to say the IRS had inappropriately targeted conservative groups, President Barack Obama’s spokesman disclosed Monday, expanding the circle of top officials who knew of the audit beyond those named earlier.
Longtime CBS newsman Bob Schieffer blasted the Obama administration for its handling of current scandals ranging from Benghazi to the IRS’ targeting of the Tea Party – even going so far to make comparisons to Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal.
A top White House adviser insisted Sunday that President Barack Obama learned the Internal Revenue Service had targeted tea party groups only “when it came out in the news” while Republicans continued to press the administration for more answers.
The nation’s tax agency has admitted to inappropriately scrutinizing smaller tea party organizations that applied for tax-exempt status. But the IRS largely maintained a hands-off policy with the much larger, big-budget organizations on the left and right that were most influential in the 2012 elections and are organized under a section of the tax code that allows them to hide their donors.
Political scandals have strange ways of causing collateral damage, and Republicans are hoping the furor over federal tax enforcers singling out conservative groups will ensnare their biggest target: President Barack Obama’s health care law.
Seeking maximum political gain from the string of controversies swirling around the White House, Republicans are on the attack against Democratic lawmakers who accepted donations from the union that represents Internal Revenue Service employees.
The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee says the Internal Revenue Service’s improper targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups seems to be part of a culture of cover-ups and political intimidation by the Obama administration.
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