Rep. Darrell Issa has announced that he is expanding his investigation into IRS targeting of conservative groups to deal with alllegations that the tax agency put groups already tax exempt under additional scrutiny.
The IRS subjected conservative groups already granted tax-exempt status to additional scrutiny during the 2012 election cycle, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) charged on Monday.
Issa called on a Treasury watchdog already looking into the IRS to investigate the matter, and signaled he would expand his committee's probe into improper targeting of political groups given the new revelations.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking member on Issa's panel, accused the chairman of pushing a "political narrative" by picking choice quotes and disregarding contrary evidence.
"It is unfortunate that you persist in this pattern of selectively releasing quotes instead of conducting a responsible investigation focused on implementing real reforms. I urge you to focus on obtaining the full set of facts rather than making unsubstantiated allegations," he said in a letter sent to Issa Monday.
He said the Virginia-based Leadership Institute was audited in 2011 and 2012 for activities it engaged in during the 2008 election year, even though it had functioned as a tax-exempt organization since 1979.
It faced "invasive questions" -- including about its interns and where they went on to work -- and ended up turning over to the IRS more than 23,000 pages of documents at a cost of roughly $50,000 to comply with the inquiry, Issa said.
"It has come to the attention of the committee that in addition to inappropriate treatment given to some applicants for tax-exempt status, existing organizations already recognized as tax-exempt by the IRS, appear to have faced questionable treatment by the IRS," Issa wrote Monday in a letter to the Treasury inspector general (IG) for tax administration.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), an Oversight subcommittee chairman, also signed on to the request that the Treasury watchdog do a second investigation.
Issa said the Institute was told by the IRS office conducting the audit that there would be follow-up document requests and questions. About two months later, in July 2012, the IRS concluded the audit, which is roughly the same time the Treasury IG determined the IRS changed its process for scrutinizing potential political groups applying for tax-exempt status.
This scandal has not hit bottom yet. And it sounds like this latest revelation is pure intimidation on the part of the IRS. That $50 grand the Institute spent complying with IRS requests couldn't be spent on voter education. The same would hold true for any other conservative group that received such scrutiny.
So much for "equal opportunity bad judgment," eh Jack Lew?