Good for the goose - IRS gets an audit of its own
Why did the agency unfairly target conservitive non-profits?
The IRS has an audit of its own to worry about as the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight orders the department to hand over all communications related to their apparent persecution of conservative groups.
The IRS has been instructed to hand over all documents containing the words "tea party, patriot, or conservative."
In addition to these key terms, the Committee has demanded the names of any individuals who were responsible for targeting these organizations.
The problem arose after the IRS was asked, and admitted, that they deliberately targeted for auditing conservative and patriotic groups with non-profit status. The IRS is not allowed to pick and choose specific groups for auditing based on their political stance.
Last week, Lois Lerner, the director of the IRS Exempt organizations Division, said at an American Bar Association conference that the IRS selected conservative groups for special scrutiny.
"That was wrong" Lerner said. "The IRS would like to apologize for that."
The claim contradicts testimony offered in March by the then IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, who testified before the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight. On March 22, Committee Chairman Charles Boustany asked,
"I've gotten a number of letters. Just recently, we've seen some recent press allegations that the IRS is targeting certain Tea Party groups across the country requesting what have been described as owner's document requests, delaying approval for tax-exempt status, and that kind of thing. Can you elaborate on what's going on with that? I mean, can you give us assurances that the IRS is not targeting particular groups based on political leanings?"
"Yes," Shulman replied. "No, thanks for bringing this up, because I think there's been a lot of press about this and a lot of moving information. So, I appreciate the opportunity to clarify. First, let me start by saying, yes, I can give you assurances.what's been happening has been the normal back-and-forth that happens with the IRS. None of the alleged taxpayers and obviously, I can't talk about individual taxpayers, and I'm not involved in these, are in examination process. They're in an application process which they moved into, voluntarily. And so, there's absolutely no targeting. This is the kind of back-and-forth that happens when people apply for 501(c)(4) status."
Someone from the IRS is lying and Lerner didn't appear to have incentive to lie. Shulman however, had every incentive to do so. Fortunately, the pending investigation should resolve the issue.
Unfortunately, the IRS has been run by people who themselves are falling short of the standards of integrity they demand of every taxpayer. This is a poor reflection upon the agency and a sign that substantial change and reform is required.
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