Though not getting as much ink as the resurgent Benghazi investigation, the IRS scandal continues to loom over the Washington bureaucracy. Just yesterday, a bipartisan majority in the House held former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress. It seems her invoking of the Fifth while insisting she was innocent as a red-tape ribboned lamb rubbed several lawmakers the wrong way.
Apparently, the IRS didn’t destroy all of the tea party donor lists like they claimed. Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee ordered the IRS to review those lists and found that a whopping 10 percent of the donors had been audited. This is 10 times higher than the average audit rate of all Americans, which is a mere 1 percent.
Rep. Charles Boustany (R – La.) presented the information to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, who refused to specifically address the explosive allegations at the hearing or afterward to press requests. Koskinen did offer a general statement, saying “the abuse of discretion and audit selection must be identified and stopped.” The Washington Times has more:
Mr. 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 Mr. 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,” Mr. Boustany said.
Koskinen responded that “every taxpayer deserves the right to assume that they will be treated fairly no matter what their political beliefs, what organization they belong to, who they voted for in the last election.”
He then added that a “handful” of tea party groups are still caught up in the IRS targeting are awaiting approval, despite November elections fast approaching. Gee, what a coincidence.