During a Ways & Means Committee hearing on Friday, Congressman Jim Gerlach (PA-6th District) questioned outgoing IRS Acting Commissioner Steven Miller about whether officials at the agency shared confidential information about conservative groups with the White House, the Treasury Department or anyone else. The media has reported on at least two instances where applications of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status were leaked to liberal news organizations.
"All Americans deserve to be treated impartially and know that their private information will be kept confidential," Gerlach said after the hearing. "It was extremely frustrating to hear Acting Commissioner Miller's apparent lack of understanding of the gravity of the discriminatory and disturbing actions taken by IRS officials. This hearing was the first step in finding out exactly who was involved in the decision to target conservative groups."
Acting Commissioner Miller testified before the full Committee one week after the IRS admitted that it had singled out and more closely scrutinized applications for tax-exempt status from conservative organizations, including Tea Party and 9/12 groups.
On Tuesday, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration released a report that found the IRS used inappropriate criteria for determining which applications for tax-exempt status would be scrutinized and targeted conservative groups. The report noted IRS officials asked unreasonable questions, such as whether members of the organization planned to run for elected office and what books they were reading.