Ex-IRS Head on Who Knew of Tea Party Targeting: ‘I Can’t Say That I Know’

May 21, 2013 - 5:37 PM

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Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. (AP)

(CNSNews.com) -- At a Senate Finance Committee hearing today, Hon. Douglas Shulman, former Internal Revenue Service commissioner and Steven Miller, acting IRS Commissioner, both denied any knowledge of the agency’s targeted harassment of conservative groups seeking tax-exemption status.

At the hearing, Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said, “Who was aware?”

Neither witness answered so Baucus asked, “How did this happen?”

Shulman said, “Mr. Chairman I can’t say that I know that answer.”

“I’m six-months out of office,” said Shulman.  “When I left the IG [inspector general] was looking into this to gather all of the facts. I have now had the benefit of reading the report and that’s a full accounting of the facts that I have at this point.”

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Former IRS Commissioner Hon. Douglas Shulman. (AP)

Much of this first round of questioning revolved around who knew what and when. Shulman admitted he knew there was targeting, but by the time he was made aware of the issue an audit was already in place and he apparently felt he did not need to take any steps to address the problem.

 

When asked by Senator Rob Portman (R- Ohio) if the practice of targeting conservative groups applying for 501(c)(4) status with the IRS was still going on, Miller said, “What practice?”

Miller and Shulman denied any knowledge of partisan actions and the lack of an investigation by the IRS has caused several members of the Finance Committee to call for a possible investigation at all levels of the IRS to determine who ordered the politically charged scrutiny and who was aware of this scrutiny.

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IRS Commissioner Steven Miller. (AP)

In the report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration,  it reveals that of the 298 applications received at the Cincinnati, Ohio office, 72 applications were scrutinized for “Tea Party,” 13 for “Patriots,” 11 for the inclusion of  “9/12” on their application, and 202 are listed as others.

The inspector general, Hon. J. Russell George, did not give a breakdown of the remaining 202 applications as the names were generic.

Senator John Cornyn (R-Tex.) asked for an apology for his constituents from Shulman who again denied involvement. Shulman stated he was sad that the targeting happened on his watch and mentioned that he did not personally touch the cases, nor did he make the list. But he refused to apologize for the actions of the IRS.