May 17th, 2013
10:50 AM ET
2 years ago

IRS official denies intentional political targeting, lying to Congress

Washington (CNN) - A huge increase in workload, rather than deliberate targeting, led to "foolish mistakes" and the political discrimination in the Internal Revenue Service cited by an inspector general's report, the agency's outgoing commissioner said Friday.

The testimony by Steven Miller, who was forced to announce his resignation this week as acting IRS commissioner, came at the first congressional hearing on the matter that has put President Barack Obama's administration on the defensive.

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Filed under: Dave Camp • IRS
soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Rand Paul, Michelle Bachman, Marco Rubio, Sarah Palin, Sharron Angle, Christine McDonnell, Mitch McConnell, Eric Cantor, Bobby Jindal, Nikki Haley, Kelly Ayotte, John Boehner ... come to mind
    -------------------------------------------------
    All so-called cons, er, consrvatives. Not ONE liberal in the bunch to at least give the appearance of a non-biased group.

    May 17, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  2. sonny chapman

    This does sound like the George W. rationale;" I might of screwed up but in my heart, I meant well" Except, W. was dealing with the Pre-9-11 Security of this country, a War in Afghanistan to get Bin Laden who escaped into Pakistan @ Tora Bora(later found when Obama made it a priority), an invasion & really poor Occupation of Iraq because Saddam was on the verge of giving el quida WMDs to be used against America, two unfunded Tax Cuts that mainly benefited the "Job Creators" which didn't create jobs, a Financial melt down that saw 600,000 jobs lost in Jan.2009. Yes, let's compare damage even though both the IRS & George W. "meant well".

    May 17, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  3. jane

    The big 'scandal' here is that all those OBVIOUSLY POLITICAL/IDEOLOGICAL groups (e.g., Heritage, Crossroads) even attempted to get tax exempt status. In what Possible way are any of these groups 'social helpers' or 'charitable'. And what a shocker to find out that the Tea Party isn't a political party! Has anyone broken the news to all those political candidates (elected and unelected) who proudly call themselves Tea Party Congressmen/Senators???

    May 17, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  4. Thomas

    @Milhouse
    These abuses by the IRS may the nail in the coffin for Obamacare.
    ========

    Maybe this is a wake up call for the American Tax payer to see how special interest groups use non profits to work the system and defraud the government ? His first witness could be Dick Armey and Freedomworks .

    Issa needs to have a bipartisan open door comity to clarify what is a non profit .

    May 17, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  5. Tony

    In the wake of the IRS scandal, the Tea Party will claim that they are not a political party. Of course, we all know that they are not a political party. They are simply a front group of the Republican Party.

    May 17, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  6. Republicans rule Obama

    Seems to me that the adminstration needs to be more upfront and honest, Obama claims he knew nothing. While tickle me if I am wrong, but Goverment scandals like IRS, Bengahiz, or the AP scandal do not happen unless they get orders from the top down. Its just a fact Obama's corrupt and illegal acts are catching up with him. I am sure we will have more scandals. Funny no liberal groups like Move On ORG. or others were targeted.

    May 17, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  7. jonnyg

    The IRS commissioner "has known for at least a year that this was going on," said Myers, "and that this had happened. And did he share any of that information with the White House? But even more importantly, Congress is going to ask him, why did you mislead us for an entire year? Members of Congress were saying conservatives are being targeted. What's going on here? The IRS denied it. Then when - after these officials are briefed by the IG that this is going on, they don't disclose it. In fact, the commissioner sent a letter to Congress in September on this subject and did not reveal this. Imagine if we - if you can - what would have happened if this fact came out in September 2012, in the middle of a presidential election? The terrain would have looked very different."

    May 17, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  8. TONY

    I love my President but he is brown nosing republicans, too quick to fire personnels when these clowns cry out. This same investigation may very well be the nail in the coffins of republicans not Obamacare, it seem to me that what these conservonut groups were doing is criminal.

    May 17, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  9. Lynda/Minnesota

    "All so-called cons, er, consrvatives. Not ONE liberal in the bunch to at least give the appearance of a non-biased group."

    If you are suggesting the MSM, I absolutely agree. Good grief, the MSM has gone out of its collective way to ALWAYS include TeaParty endorsed when talking of those candidates I listed and so many, many others who have been considered and consider themselves TEA PARTY affliated and given special media attention ad nauseum. To even suggest that these newly formed TP organizations aren't political is absurd. Especially from the very media who has done nothing BUT suggest it for ratings and revenue.

    This whole "scandal" has gotten way over blown.

    /popcorn

    May 17, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  10. yeahright

    "Rep. Dave Camp, chairman of the Republican-led panel, and other GOP members sought to depict the controversy as indicative of government gone wild, with the IRS abusing conservative groups and other political foes of the administration"

    And there you have it. They are not interested in fixing any problems, and this is nothing new. The IRS went after liberal organizations under Bush. Apparently the practice was OK then. When this is all said and done, the net result is going to be the blatant abuses by these supposed non profit organizations will mushroom without oversight because no one is going to willing to appear partisan. How does the IRS determine if the activities are "primarily" social welfare without investigating? It's not possible.

    May 17, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    Maybe this is a wake up call for the American Tax payer to see how special interest groups use non profits to work the system and defraud the government ?"

    Indeed. As I've said before, this is a double-edged sword the GOP/Teatrolls are fondling. I give it a 3-6 months before the GOP/Teatrolls freak out and start trying to put the sh-t back in the dog because focus on this issue raises public awareness of the 501(c)(#) abuses of our tax system and generates public demand that clearer, far more strict rules be applied to them with respect to political activities.

    May 17, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    Do they plan to humiliate the commissioner that Bush appointed?

    May 17, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    " While tickle me if I am wrong, but Goverment scandals like IRS, Bengahiz, or the AP scandal do not happen unless they get orders from the top down."

    You're wrong, but I wouldn't tickle you with someone else's hands, let alone my own. Gov't would come to a screeching halt if everything needed to originate on the POTUS' desk. Powers, authority, decision-making discretion...all of it gets delegated, just like it would in any organization, and sometimes the people to whom those things were delegated screw up. Does that equate with the POTUS or the CEO ordering them to commit wrongful acts? No. Not even remotely.

    May 17, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  14. Thomas

    Why doesn't right ever take responsibility ?

    The same comity that is investigating the IRS , set these bogus laws into effect .

    They love to deal with problems , never the solutions .

    May 17, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "Do they plan to humiliate the commissioner that Bush appointed?"

    These people would throw children in from of an AR-15 wielding madman if they believed it would get them what they want.

    Oh wait...

    May 17, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  16. yeahright

    Powers, authority, decision-making discretion...all of it gets delegated, just like it would in any organization, and sometimes the people to whom those things were delegated screw up. Does that equate with the POTUS or the CEO ordering them to commit wrongful acts? No. Not even remotely.

    May 17, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |

    Sniffit, don't you know that only applies when it is a Republican in office?

    May 17, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code defines tax-exempt social welfare groups like this:

    "Civic leagues or organizations not organized for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare."

    In 1959, under the administration of Dwight Eisenhower, the meaning of this section was changed dramatically when the IRS decided the word “exclusively” could, in effect, be read as “primarily.”

    May 17, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  18. Ex-Republican

    10,000 employees left or retired from the IRS from 2010-2012 and were not replaced. There is an old saying you get what you pay for. I guess now I will start a tax exempt nonprofit Called Send Me Your Money And Don't Ask Me Any Questions.

    May 17, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  19. Malory Archer

    yeahright

    And there you have it. They are not interested in fixing any problems, and this is nothing new. The IRS went after liberal organizations under Bush. Apparently the practice was OK then.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    They also went after liberal groups during this latest so-called "scandal" and apparently the rethugs and the "librul" media think that's a-okay as nobody is mentioning them!

    May 17, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    "Sniffit, don't you know that only applies when it is a Republican in office?"

    Indeed...everyone put your clown shoes on and do the IOKIYAR Dance!!!

    May 17, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  21. just askin

    isn't it funny how everything and i do mean everything that happened while george bush was president was his fault but nothing and i do mean absolutely nothing that happens when obama is president is obama's fault. except of course things that go right, which has been only one thing, the killing of bin laden. other than that it has been one train wreck after another but none of it is obama's fault. funny how the buck always stops somewhere else with this administration.

    May 17, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  22. Malory Archer

    Rudy NYC

    Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code defines tax-exempt social welfare groups like this:

    "Civic leagues or organizations not organized for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare."

    In 1959, under the administration of Dwight Eisenhower, the meaning of this section was changed dramatically when the IRS decided the word “exclusively” could, in effect, be read as “primarily.”

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    And they did so of their own volition without approval from the President or Congress!

    May 17, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    "In 1959, under the administration of Dwight Eisenhower, the meaning of this section was changed dramatically when the IRS decided the word “exclusively” could, in effect, be read as “primarily.”"

    Even under that silly semantic mess they made, it's pretty obvious that 501(c)(4) groups from both sides of the spectrum spend almost all of their time collecting donations and spending them on advocating HOW people should vote on certain issues and who people should vote for. It's blatant political activity. Either of those things should result in the IRS rescinding their tax-exempt status IMMEDIATELY and place the burden on them to appeal the decision and prove they're not actually involved in political activity as opposed to social welfare. They should be strictly and unyieldingly barred from talking about campaigns and candidates and voting behavior and restricted to the issues themselves. Advocate a certain position on Obamacare all they want. Advocate a certain position about a woman's right to choose all they want. But the instant a newspaper article pops up or leaflets get handed out saying things like "Vote for Stinky McTurdpuddle...he'll repeal Obamacare" or "Vote against Prop 69...Sodomy is bad, mmkay?" they should find themselves looking at a tax bill that includes fines/penalties.

    May 17, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  24. Liberal Sense (Or lack thereof)

    Lying isn't actually lying.

    May 17, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    just askin

    isn't it funny how everything and i do mean everything that happened while george bush was president was his fault
    --------------------–
    Well, it's pretty easy to point the finger at Bush when he and GOP members of Congress publicly call for IRS investigations of the NAACP. It's no brainer. Got a problem with no brainers?

    May 17, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
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