House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., today offered a strong admonition to House Democrats attempting to derail the investigation by the Ways and Means and Oversight and Government Reform Committees into political targeting at IRS.
Last night, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George sent a letter to House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin, D-Mich., correcting the record and strongly rebutting Ranking Member Levin's misleading and inaccurate characterizations of the findings of the TIGTA audit. On Monday, Levin released documents that he inaccurately claimed showed progressive groups were targeted in the same way Tea Party groups were targeted by IRS.
"Both the Ways and Means and Oversight Committees are methodically working through an investigation following up on the IG audit. Our Democratic colleagues should stop trying to derail the investigation by defending IRS officials with distorted claims equating the systematic scrutiny of Tea Party groups with the more routine screening progressive groups received," said House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell lssa, R-Calif. "As TIGTA notes, Tea Party groups and progressive groups were treated very differently by the IRS. Ranking Member Cummings and Ranking Member Levin need to join us in this investigation and not look for every excuse to just say the case is solved and Congress should move on."
"While we have multiple sources of information corroborating the use of Tea Party and other related criteria we described in our report, including employee interviews, e-mails, and other documents, we found no indication in any of these other materials that "Progressives' was a term used to refer cases for scrutiny for political campaign intervention," the IG wrote.
George noted that 100% of cases with "Tea Party", "Patriot", or "9/12" in their name were processed as potential political cases whereas only 30% of organizations identified with "progress" or "progressive" were as potential political cases.
George's letter continued: "Based on information you flagged regarding the existent of a "Progressives' entry on BOLO lists, TIGTA performed additional research which determined that six tax-exempt applications filed between May 2010 and May 2012 having the word "progress' or "progressive' in their names were included in the 298 cases the IRS identified as potential political cases. We also determined that 14 tax-exempt applications filed between May 2010 and May 2012 using the word "progress' or "progressive' in their names were not referred for added scrutiny as potential political cases."