photo of Steven Miller, former Acting Commissioner of the IRS
10:00 – 11:00: The hearing began with opening statements from the bipartisan committee. The IG confirmed that all allegations were substantiated – conservative groups were targeted; their applications were subjected to unfair scrutiny; and inappropriate questions were asked.
Mr. Steven Miller, Acting Commissioner of the IRS for the last six months, apologized for the IRS activities; he said he does not have names of the people responsible for targeting of the conservative groups; he did not remember whose idea it was; and he said he did not lie to the committee when he said conservatives were being targeted though he knew at the time they were.
Mr. Miller asked the technical advisor who was responsible for the targeting but he said he does not remember who she said was responsible.
Miller said targeting is the wrong word as others were looked at as well and there was nothing political about what went on.
Mr. Miller said that the IRS was overwhelmed by the number of applications in 2011 but the fact is that the highest numbers came in 2010.
Mr. Miller was not the Commissioner while this targeting took place. Ms. Ingram was the Commissioner. He was deputy commissioner.
Rep. McDermott (D-WA) argued that this was a low-level mix-up and the Congress messed up by not outlining clear guidelines for what a charitable organization is.
There was overall however bipartisan outrage over the singling out of Americans for targeting because of their political beliefs. Sometimes, one couldn’t discern who was a Democrat and who was a Republican.
Mr. Miller could not remember anyone’s name.
Rep. Levin – at the outset – said Lois Lerner should be fired. Lois Lerner went before Congress on May 8th and also lied
11:30 – 13:00: The following running record includes some key testimony.
Rep. Davis began the investigation in March 2012. He said he is not convinced it is a political conspiracy. There is some ineptitude.
Mr. Miller said the new commissioner must restore the trust in the IRS. [Seriously? Who ever trusted the IRS?]
Rep. Davis said new low-level employees must be kept up-to-date on appropriate procedures.
Rep. Shock presented a 150+ page report of analysis and evidence put together by the Thomas More Society. It cited instances of religious organizations being abused by the IRS when they applied for tax-exempt status. One pro-life organization was asked if they present both sides of the question when engaged in instruction. Another pro-life organization was asked the content of their prayers. Another organization was asked what signs could or could not be held up outside an abortion clinic.
Mr. Miller said he could not answer as to why those questions were asked or if they were problematic, but said he did not believe they were normal questions.
The IG, the Hon. Mr. George could not address those questions as they had not investigated these particular cases. The IG report was an audit and not intended to be a thorough investigation.
Rep. Jenkins said she was sick to her stomach that Americans could be targeted by a government agency for their political beliefs.
Rep. Paulsen said this is a bad week for America. The IRS improperly requested donor lists from 27 organizations, he said. He asked Mr. George how long they maintained the information but Mr. George and Mr. Miller did not know. Mr. Miller attributed all actions to poor management. The lists are now destroyed, Miller claimed.
Rep. Marchant asked Mr. Miller about the Tea Party groups being selected and the difficulty of them getting the tax-exempt status. Mr. Marchant was reassured by Mr. Miller that at the time of the previous congressional hearing nothing was going on and it was just a backlog. Mr Miller said that he didn’t lie. He thought Rep. Marchant was talking about the letters and that is why he answered as he did.
Rep. Marchant said he (Miller) knew that lists were being made at the time of the original hearing. Mr. Miller said he wasn’t going to go there at the time because he didn’t have all the facts.
A USA Today article of 5/14 said that one month before the targeting began at least one Tea Party group received approval as a 501(c)(4) and not another was approved for 27 months. Dozens of liberal and Progressive groups were approved in that time span. This article was placed on the record.
Mr. Miller, according to the Washington Examiner, investigated anti-Clinton groups as an agent.
Ms. Ingram, who was the commissioner during most of this illicit activity by the IRS, is now in charge of the implementation of Obamacare in the IRS. Her position is a promotion.
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