House Republicans find 10 percent of tea party donors audited by IRS
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
5/8/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
A check of Internal Revenue Services has revealed that the tax agency audited 10 percent of those donated funds to the Tea Party, which is much higher than the audit rate for average Americans. Republicans maintain that the IRS still hasn't come clean about the full extent of its targeting, which has likewise swept up dozens of conservative groups.
The IRS singled out tea party and other conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status and gave them special scrutiny, investigators discovered last year.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "The committee uncovered new information indicating that after groups provided the information to the IRS, nearly one in 10 donors were subject to audit," Rep. Charles W. Boustany Jr., Louisiana Republican and chairman of the Ways and Means Committee's oversight panel, told IRS Commissioner John Koskinen at a hearing Wednesday.
"The abuse of discretion and audit selection must be identified and stopped," he said.
This came to light on the same day that the House voted on a nonbinding resolution which requested that the Justice Department appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS targeting.
The IRS singled out tea party and other conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status and gave them special scrutiny, investigators discovered last year. These tactics included asking inappropriate questions about their activities and membership.
The IRS initially denied to Congress that it was actively persecuting tea party groups, in spite of vocal complaints from groups that had their applications delayed for years. The agency later admitted it had been subjecting these groups to special scrutiny.
White House officials deny that the targeting was politically motivated, blaming confusion and a flood of applications from conservative groups after a 2010 Supreme Court ruling opened the door to broader political activity from outside interest groups.
Twenty-four conservative groups were asked for their donor lists. The IRS at first told Congress that those lists were destroyed. Three of those lists were later found intact.
Rep. Dave Camp, Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, asked the IRS to review the names on those lists to see whether any had been audited.
The IRS then admitted that 10 percent of the groups were audited. Boustany said he has asked the Government Accountability Office, Congress' chief watchdog, to look at how the IRS Exempt Organizations Division decided whom to audit. He said the GAO review is underway and demanded that Koskinen offer investigators full cooperation.
"IRS has long insisted that Americans should not worry about political targeting at your agency because the IRS has layers of internal protections to guard against it. But in the course of our investigation, however, we found that Lois Lerner acted in defiance of these internal protections," Boustany said.
Ms. Lerner ran the division overseeing nonprofit groups. She has since retired from the IRS but has refused to testify to Congress about her role in the targeting, citing her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
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