How many investigations does the IRS face? More than you think!
Agency is being widely targeted by those with oversight.
The IRS will face no less than four investigations, making June a hot month for IRS officials as well as the Obama administration. Both Republicans and Democrats are upset at what appears to be targeted harassment of conservative non-profits and individuals.
Originally, we were expected to believe that only agents in Cincinnati were involved in the scandal.
The illegal IRS activity was disclosed by their own internal investigation, which revealed widespread abuses of power. The report, issued by Treasury Inspector General J. Russell George, found that the IRS initiated targeting of conservative groups as "potential political operations" and requested "additional specialists" to help pursue these groups in December 2011.
At question is who knew and when. It is believed that Obama knew about the situation before the mainstream media reported it, although he initially stated he heard about the problem from news reports. Further discussion has revealed that top White House aides knew about the scandal weeks in advance, although they claim to have not notified the President.
Who really gave the order to give extra scrutiny to conservatives also remains to be known. Was it the work of a rogue IRS official, or was it the work of President Obama or someone in his administration?
The reality probably lies somewhere in between, but this remains speculation.
The House Ways and Means Committee, Oversight Subcommittee is leading the first investigation of the IRS, starting with Charles Boustany's (R-LA) acquisition of all IRS emails that contain the phrases, "tea party, patriot," or "conservative."
Boustany also got the names of all those who participated in the targeting scheme.
Republican Ways and Means chairman Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan asked Americans to share their stories of IRS harassment. Many have come forward revealing that the IRS also targeted individuals.
Meanwhile, a parallel investigation by the House Oversight Committee has already gained headlines by questioning IRS officials last week. At their latest hearing, the individual believed to know the most, former department head Lois Lerner, denied to answer any questions, although she did make a statement.
The Democrats are conducting an investigation of their own with Democratic Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus leading the way.
Baucus referred to the IRS' behavior as "intolerable" and "a clear breach of the public trust."
The IRS is also investigating itself a second time, with the new IRS commissioner Danny Werfel already pledging "to make sure it doesn't happen again."
These four investigations show the magnitude of the scandal, which is far greater than many people realize. Tactics such as those employed by the IRS touch on issues of profiling, harassment, tyranny, and freedom of expression. Now, there appear to be lies told by high-ranking officials and an attempt to cover up, or at least minimize the damage by suppressing the facts.
Fortunately, these investigations should be enough to uncover those facts. For now, we need to be patient, and see just how high the scandal goes.
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