Rep. Joseph Crowley, Democrat from New York, believes that former IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman lied to congress last year when he testified under oath that no political groups were being targeted by the agency.
Following the House's opening investigative hearing into the IRS's revelation that it gave extra scrutiny to conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, Crowley was asked if he believed Douglas Shulman lied to Congress.
"I think Mr. Shulman did," said Crowley in an interview with Fox News. "My understanding is that it was common knowledge if they were going after political groups back then."
Crowley was referencing a 2012 House Ways and Means Committee hearing in which Shulman, in response to questions from Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.), held that the IRS was not targeting specific groups applying for tax-exempt status.
"There's absolutely no targeting," said Shulman at the time.
The encounter raised suspicions for Boustany as well, who recounted the incident during the same interview with Crowley.
"He said, absolutely not. He categorically denied it," recalled Boustany on Friday. "But he was aware of what was going on during this time frame because we know that [a] senior technical advisor had already been sent out to Cincinnati to investigate what was going on and to report back."
Shulman completed his five-year term as IRS chief in November of last year. He was replaced by Steven Miller, whom President Obama asked to resign this week after the IRS scandal erupted.
Shulman is expected to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee next week.
I think Shulman's successor, Steven Miller, is also in hot water for lying to congress. Many of the answers he gave during his testimony on Friday will be closely scrutinzed because they were at odds with some of the known facts.
IRS senior management have apparently put up a wall of denial that there were political considerations in targeting conservative groups. If that wall can be breached, several more IRS officials may find themselves looking for a good criminal lawyer.