September 19, 2013
The IRS’s treatment of Tea Party groups burst back into view Wednesday, as top Republicans accused the agency of using audits to disproportionately scrutinize conservative outfits.
Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee stressed that new information showed that the IRS flagged mostly conservative groups for extra surveillance, even after those groups received their tax-exempt status. . . . Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) and other GOP lawmakers also repeatedly cited the role of Lois Lerner – the IRS official at the heart of the controversy – in singling out Tea Party groups.
Boustany charged that only conservative groups were audited after receiving the extra scrutiny that followed tax-exempt approval. He added that 90 percent of the groups that received extra surveillance falling short of an audit were conservative.
“Four months after Lois Lerner’s apology for the targeting, there are many questions outstanding,” Boustany said at a hearing of the panel’s oversight subcommittee. “And frankly, there are not nearly enough answers.”
The hearing breathed new energy into a controversy that has been overshadowed for weeks by issues ranging from Syria to the current fiscal fights.
Still, the GOP charges also show that the congressional investigation into the IRS is only growing in scope, even after some two dozen interviews with agency staffers and the vetting of roughly 300,000 documents.