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. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Assuming the Current Adminstation is Competant they would know this was/is happening. Where it all leads is another matter. I have no doubt there was some Partisan Polotics involved. The over riding question is, do you want the Nanny State to continue where the country has more and more debt or do you want fiscal responsibility. Make no mistake, some think you can't take care of yourself and need the government to do it for you. There is a lot of red ink around the country and the prevailing policies of the more liberal propnnents are not doing anything to relieve the situation.

    May 17, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  2. TONY

    I have a question did republicans know that the irs boss was a bush appointee, and a republican ? or they are that stupid.

    May 17, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  3. The Real Tom Paine

    -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.
    *********************
    No, that's just your perception. Funny, the Right has always claimed the moral high ground on personal responsibility, yet not a word of that came from the 8 years of Shrub's adminsitration. Not one word that could be construed as an admission they did anything wrong. Yet, even with that, the Right demands that Obama apologise for everything he does, then complains about the nature of how he went about it, whether or not he was sincere, etc. Just quit with the pretense. You have never posted anything except rabid, pathological criticism of the President. We have witnessed you contradicting yourself over the course of the day, which proves nothing you say has any real thought behind it.

    May 17, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    -Liberal Sense (Or lack thereof)

    Lying isn't actually lying.
    **********************
    According to a conservative, no, its not, as long as the lying comes from a Rightie.

    May 17, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  5. 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.”
    ----------------------
    I agree with the intent of the change. The standard "exclusively" is a bit too restrictive, and doesn't allow for minor mistakes to be made. For example, the mayor riding in the Little League's float during the Memorial Day parade would probably exceed the "exclusively" standard. The mayor should have gotten his own float.

    But, something really needs to be done about this. Here you have political action committees filing under this classification and making themselves eligible to recieve unlimited amounts of donations from undisclosed donors. For example, the first thing Karl Rove does about this IRS "scandal" is to make a 30 second ad about it.

    May 17, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  6. jpmichigan

    I have one important question, " WHO BENEFITED MOSTLY BY THIS ACTION OF THE IRS?" Then tell me that somehow/someone (DEMOCRATIC) wasn't involved directly or behind the scene . Letters from Senate Democrats were shown at the hearing, the out going Director of IRS is leaving (retiring) with full benefits and pension. This is not the end of the problems for Obama, one by one the chickens are coming home to roust.

    May 17, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  7. Malory Archer

    jpmichigan

    I have one important question, " WHO BENEFITED MOSTLY BY THIS ACTION OF THE IRS?" Then tell me that somehow/someone (DEMOCRATIC) wasn't involved directly or behind the scene . Letters from Senate Democrats were shown at the hearing, the out going Director of IRS is leaving (retiring) with full benefits and pension. This is not the end of the problems for Obama, one by one the chickens are coming home to roust.

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

    Apparently the tea party groups who were pushed to the head of the line and had their applications approved at the same time liberal groups were denied. Why would dems be involved in expediting tea party applications while denying the applications of liberal groups. The outgoing director has only been on the job for 5 months so the damage didn't happen on his watch, but on the watch of the guy appointed by the previous occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. If ANYONE should lose their pension and benefits it's THAT GUY! You're right – it isn't the end of the problems for the President because the rethugs are determined to scandalize him – even if they have to create the "scandal" themselves.

    May 17, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  8. The Real Tom Paine

    -jpmichigan

    I have one important question, " WHO BENEFITED MOSTLY BY THIS ACTION OF THE IRS?" Then tell me that somehow/someone (DEMOCRATIC) wasn't involved directly or behind the scene . Letters from Senate Democrats were shown at the hearing, the out going Director of IRS is leaving (retiring) with full benefits and pension. This is not the end of the problems for Obama, one by one the chickens are coming home to roust.
    **********************
    You did not show a shred of proof that there is a connection between the White House and an agency that was headed by somone appointed by a GOP president. Where is the link, or is it just wishful thinking?

    May 17, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  9. Malory Archer

    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.

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

    According to your ilk, everything that happened during the previous occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue's reign of error was Bill Clinton's fault. Frankly, I don't blame him for anything but for that which he was responsible. If you can spare a few days, I'll provide you a copy of my scorecard from that terrible period in American history.

    May 17, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    jpmichigan

    I have one important question, " WHO BENEFITED MOSTLY BY THIS ACTION OF THE IRS?" Then tell me that somehow/someone (DEMOCRATIC) wasn't involved directly or behind the scene
    --------------------–
    The People benefited. The IRS was simply doing its' job.

    It would not surprise me for us to learn that the Mission Statements of some of these conservative groups contained phrases like: lower taxes; repeal Obamacare, smaller government; 2nd Amendment rights; right to life; and other "social issues" on which conservatives place such a high priority.

    May 17, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  11. The Real Tom Paine

    Ray E. (Georgia)

    Assuming the Current Adminstation is Competant they would know this was/is happening. Where it all leads is another matter. I have no doubt there was some Partisan Polotics involved. The over riding question is, do you want the Nanny State to continue where the country has more and more debt or do you want fiscal responsibility. Make no mistake, some think you can't take care of yourself and need the government to do it for you. There is a lot of red ink around the country and the prevailing policies of the more liberal propnnents are not doing anything to relieve the situation.
    **************
    Administation? What's that? Must be home-schooled. Oh yeah, I forgot, more blind criticsim without proof from the delta-minuses on the Right. If I wanted fiscal responsibility, I certainly would not go to the people who have plunged the country further into debt every single time they have had the chance. Nothing like having the middle class plundered to pay for tax cuts to the rich, who turned around and sent good jobs overseas. Nothing like having GOP governors who used stim money to balance their budgets retroactively. But hey, its all to make sure that the hard-working people in this country continue to subsidize the Sheldon Adelsons and Donald Trumps of this world.

    May 17, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  12. just askin

    so were the people that they have found doing this democrats or leftists??? what was their political affiliation? they changed it back even after they were told they couldn't use those words? have they been fired or removed? or have they all been promoted or moved to higher paying jobs like the higher ups?

    shouldn't this all be disclosed? let's here it irs. come clean, for once.

    May 17, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  13. just askin

    Rudy NYC
    lower taxes; repeal Obamacare, smaller government; 2nd Amendment rights; right to life; and other "social issues" on which conservatives place such a high priority.
    =====

    and progressive groups advocate for the exact opposite and yet they don't get targeted. why is that?

    May 17, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  14. Stewie

    How can anyone take this serious–Congress asking for the truth when all the do is lie, cheat, and steal. They are the most incompetent group of people in the government and all they want to do is undermine the current administration. If there is someone who needs to be questioned it is why Congress can't get anything done. Maybe if they weren't undermining ACA by attacking the IRS they could focus on what the American people really need jobs jobs jobs.

    May 17, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  15. CB FL

    I would like for the people in congress held liable when they lie to us citizens.

    May 17, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  16. Boo

    I love the phony outrage coming from the right on this. Same as Beghazi. I'm still waiting for hearings on the lies about the Iraq War. Hey conservatives....CRY ME A RIVER.

    May 17, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    -Liberal Sense (Or lack thereof)

    Lying isn't actually lying.
    ------------------
    Don't tell me. It's called freedom of speech. Right?

    May 17, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  18. Wake up People!

    And jp, that's roost, not roust.....

    May 17, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "and progressive groups advocate for the exact opposite and yet they don't get targeted. "

    3 progressive groups were the only ones actually denied the applied-for status.

    May 17, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    just sayin' asked:

    ..... and progressive groups advocate for the exact opposite and yet they don't get targeted. why is that?
    -----------
    It's pure speculation on my part that conservative groups would be careless enough to include such phrases in their Mission Statements. Apparently, you think there's nothing wrong with it.

    Most liberal groups wouldn't be that careless to include questionable language in the Mission Statements, but I strongly believe that conservative groups would be ignorant enough to do so with pride.

    May 17, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  21. tammyk tammy

    This so called scandal appears to be nothing but a Tea Party attempt to undermine the IRS role in Obamacare and to create chaos just prior to the ACA going into effect. Considering that this all happened under the watch of a Bush appointee, this seems a likely scenario. Can't get the SCOTUS to knock it down, then do everything to make sure it fails. How do you like my conspiracy theory teatrolls?

    May 17, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    ":It would not surprise me for us to learn that the Mission Statements of some of these conservative groups contained phrases like: lower taxes; repeal Obamacare, smaller government; 2nd Amendment rights; right to life; and other "social issues" on which conservatives place such a high priority."

    That would all be perfectly ok. The key is whether the manner in which they intend to advocate for their positions on those issues crosses the line into actual political activity. Holding seminars or conferences to discuss the issues or "educate' people about them in a manner that pushes your point of view might be fine...paying for advertising that tells people how to vote or who to vote for or attacks things like ballot propositions or opposition candidates, on the other hand, should clearly be forbidden.

    May 17, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  23. The Real Tom Paine

    -just askin

    Rudy NYC
    lower taxes; repeal Obamacare, smaller government; 2nd Amendment rights; right to life; and other "social issues" on which conservatives place such a high priority.
    =====

    and progressive groups advocate for the exact opposite and yet they don't get targeted. why is that?
    *************************
    We don't spit on people, throw racial slurs, or align ourselves with militias advocating the violant overthrow of the government. On the bright side, maybe because your side is so violence-prone they were fast-tracked ahead. The Pregressive groups were rejected by a more than 2 to 1 ratio over the Conservatives, so that should make you happy.

    May 17, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    BTW, watch how fast the application pile shrinks once the rules on political activity are made clearer and stricter. That, in and of itself, will say all we need to know about whether these groups (from either side) should have received 501(c)(#) status in the first place.

    May 17, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  25. Data Driven

    Haven't checked in in a while. I see the fact-free assertions from conservatives are still flowing freely.

    Anyone found the smoking gun yet? "Dear IRS, go after the Tea Party! Signed, Your Kenyan Overload.". No? Not yet? Wake me when you do.

    May 17, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
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