First on CNN: Republican video keeps pressure on IRS
June 10th, 2013
07:47 AM ET
9 years ago

First on CNN: Republican video keeps pressure on IRS

(CNN) – As attention in Washington shifts to the surveillance activities of the National Security Agency, national Republicans are seeking to keep pressure on President Barack Obama's administration to explain their role in the IRS's targeting of conservative groups.

In a video released Monday, the Republican National Committee splices together clips of IRS officials testifying before Congress, appearing to withhold answers from lawmakers on who knew what about the targeting of groups applying for tax exempt status.

"Why didn't you know," text in the video asks. "When did they know?"

"When a government targets its citizens based on their personal beliefs, we deserve to get answers of exactly what happened and who knew," the video concludes.

"The Obama administration continues to dodge questions and point fingers, but Americans deserve answers to why their First Amendment rights were so egregiously violated," RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said. "Turning a blind eye and claiming not to know, or remember, what actions were carried out is no excuse for targeting individuals based on their beliefs. These are simple questions, and if they can't answer it raises another: what are they hiding?"

The IRS admitted last month they were applying extra scrutiny to groups trying to become tax-exempt that had the words "tea party" and "patriot" in their names. Other screening factors included groups focused on the federal debt. IRS rules prevent groups engaging in political activity from becoming tax exempt.

Top White House officials say they knew nothing of the targeting when it occurred. General Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler learned of a pending inspector general's report on April 24, 2013, according to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. She later informed other top Obama aides, including chief of staff Denis McDonough.

Carney insisted no one – including Ruemmler and McDonough – told Obama anything about the inspector general's pending report before media reports about it began appearing on May 10.

Speaking in testimony before the Senate Finance Committee, former IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman said that he was aware of some aspects of his agency's targeting of conservative groups in the spring of 2012, and took what he called the correct action of ensuring the situation would be independently reviewed.

After interviewing IRS employees in the Cincinnati office where the targeting is said to have taken place, Congressional investigators have come to vastly different conclusions about the state of the probe. Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, said on Sunday's "State of the Union" on CNN that "the case is solved."

But Rep. Darrell Issa, the committee's chairman, countered there are still large questions remaining.

CNN's Paul Steinhauser and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

Filed under: IRS • RNC
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House

    Well Mr. Poohbutt Priebus, when an organization is named "Taxed Enough Already," I believe the IRS has every right to investigate them. Same goes for Progressive groups as well. Citizens United has perverted the tax code for these so called "non political" groups.

    June 10, 2013 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  2. Gurgyl

    Do you not want them to scrutinize GOP taxes???? Nonsense tax-cheaters. Enough Cayman island money.

    June 10, 2013 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  3. Andrew

    We are at a crossroads in U.S. History. Wake up America. These scandals should outrage both the left and right. The fact that mainstream media has avoided the topics as much as possible shows how far gone they really are. Journalism is dead. God bless the whistleblowers and free journalism!

    June 10, 2013 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    It is time that the corruption of this administration is fully exposed for what it is.........corrupt.

    June 10, 2013 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  5. Rudy NYC

    We already know the truth behind who ordered the "targeting" of right wing groups. It was just what had predicted it would be. The "targeting" was ordered by a conservative, registered Republican employee who was trying to expedite the applications for right wing groups. The problem is that so many of their applications really did deserve closer scrutiny.

    June 10, 2013 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  6. Marie MD

    Shaking in my boots. The teat rolls.should NOT have exempt status. I think the koch brothers who are billionaires don't need to hide any more od their money.

    June 10, 2013 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  7. Warren

    Sounds to me like the IRS just started doing it's job. "tea party" " Other screening factors included groups focused on the federal debt" IRS rules prevent groups engaging in political activity from becoming tax exempt. A bigger concern should be that a group with Tea Party in it's name received tax exempt status.....The loop hole for these political organizations needs to be closed...

    June 10, 2013 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  8. Wake up People!

    Why don't any of these stories ever tell the entire story that not just Conservative groups were targeted??? Oh my bad, that doesn't fit the scandal scenario.....

    June 10, 2013 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  9. Warren

    I think Rudy NYC is on to something.....

    June 10, 2013 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  10. Suemac in WA

    This article was written by the "CNN Political Group"? They need to rename themselves to "CNN Political Biased Group". This biased claptrap leaves out any objective reporting, taking CNN to new heights of partisanship. The article says "[the} IRS rules prevent groups engaging in political activity from becoming tax exempt." when in fact rules state that groups may not be "primarily" engaged in political activities. In one respect those that champion the IRS activities should breathe a collective sigh of relief because so many left leaning groups are very much politically motivated. One of the worst offenders is Obama's favorite group OFA (Organizing for Action) which states its primary goal is to advance Obama's agenda on taxes, Obamacare, energy and gun control,
    The IRS admitted to targeting conservative groups, anti abortion groups, religious groups, Constitutional groups and more for excessive scrutiny because they opposed the administration's political agenda. There is nothing even remotely right about this. We need to put aside left vs right and focus on Constitutional (civil liberty) rights. When did opposition to one's political beliefs become an open target for excessive IRS scrutiny?
    Finally, according to IRS rules, donations to 501(c)4 groups is NOT tax deductible, "Contributions to civic leagues or other section 501(c)(4) organizations generally are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes." (Taken from the website).

    June 10, 2013 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  11. Rudy NYC


    I think Rudy NYC is on to something.....
    Darrel Issa is suppressing testimony from behind closed doors. Rep. John Lewis, I think it is, is threatening to release the transcripts of issa doesn't do it, and do it soon ending this charade.

    June 10, 2013 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  12. Guess

    Repubs will not let the simple truth stop them, scandals everywhere. if this really were a scandal, the network news stations would be all over it, but they dont run untrue stories just becaause the koch brothers pay them too, keep drinking thefox news koolaid, they will make more

    June 10, 2013 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  13. rs

    I want those Republicans in those key positions at the IRS generally and at the Cleveland office to be investigated for their riles in the GOP made-up controversy.

    June 10, 2013 09:26 am at 9:26 am |