Pressure builds on officials to take heat for IRS scandal

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the IRS from the East Room of the White House in Washington, May 15, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
The IRS building/Getty Images

Pressure was building on Monday for the Obama administration to fire more people linked to the Internal Revenue Service’s extra scrutiny of conservative groups, possibly including another top IRS official.

More than a week after a mid-level IRS employee apologized publicly for IRS agents’ use of terms such as “Tea Party” and “patriots” to target groups’ applications for tax-exempt status, Congress was preparing for two days of hearings on the matter.

Lois Lerner, chief of the IRS tax-exempt unit, was scheduled to testify on Wednesday to a Republican-controlled investigative committee of the House of Representatives, along with other officials. Lerner’s apology for the IRS targeting on May 10 at a legal conference in Washington set off the furor.

President Barack Obama fired acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller on Wednesday. Some lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, are calling for Lerner to go next, as the scandal continues to unfold, distracting Obama from his second-term legislative agenda.

U.S. Representative Sander Levin called for Lerner’s resignation on Friday, saying she had recently testified to a House subcommittee and failed to disclose what she knew about the targeting. “This is wholly unacceptable,” he said.

Levin is the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, which writes tax law and oversees the IRS.

Republican Vern Buchanan, another member of the panel, last week called for Lerner to be dismissed.

Joseph Grant, acting commissioner for the IRS tax-exempt and government entities division and Lerner’s boss, said last week that he will retire.

“I don’t see how Lois makes it. It’s saddening to me,” said Philip Hackney, assistant law professor at Louisiana State University who worked until 2011 at the IRS with Lerner. “She is nonpartisan; I say that with great confidence.”

A woman who answered the phone at the IRS exempt organizations division last week said Lerner was on leave.

She canceled an appearance on Saturday at the Western New England University School of Law.

TWO HEARINGS AHEAD

Lerner was scheduled to testify on Wednesday to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee alongside Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin, former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman and Treasury Department Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George.

On Tuesday, George, Miller and Shulman were set to testify before the Democrat-controlled Senate Finance Committee.

As the IRS scandal as widened, Republicans have focused on what officials knew about the targeting and when they knew it. George’s watchdog group, known as TIGTA, last week called the targeting inappropriate in an investigative report.

The report showed that the targeting got under way in mid-2010. In 2011, Lerner was told about how the practice was being handled at a Cincinnati field office. She halted the use of the controversial key words, but lower-level employees by January 2012 had resumed using them.

The TIGTA report found no evidence of political motivation for the targeting or of any White House involvement.

Still, at the first congressional hearing on the matter last Friday, Republicans made clear they are looking beyond the IRS.

“This appears to be just the latest example of a culture of cover-ups and political intimidation in this administration,” Republican House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp said on Friday.

Democratic Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus and top committee Republican Orrin Hatch on Monday requested documents on possible White House involvement and sought nearly 300 tax-exempt status applications delayed by the targeting.

Baucus and Hatch also asked for documentation of any disciplinary action taken, and whether some lawmakers’ calls for the IRS to crack down on tax-exempt groups played any role.

 


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

University of New Mexico running back arrested for…

By Joseph J. KolbALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (Reuters) - A University of New Mexico football player has been arrested on suspicion of raping and kidnapping a…

National

Teen who stowed away on flight to Hawaii…

By Alex Dobuzinskis(Reuters) - A teenage boy who stowed away on a flight from California to Hawaii in the frozen, oxygen-deprived wheel well of a…

Money

Investing is easier than you think

Easy investing: Everything you need to know about investing, you already do.

International

Arion1: Pill-shaped bicycle hits 90 mph

The Arion1 is a pod-like bicycle that aims to take the land speed record.

Television

John Turturro tags in for Robert De Niro…

The cast of the courtroom drama miniseries has undergone yet another shift. Following Robert De Niro's exit, the cable network has brought in John Turturro…

Arts

"The Shape She Makes", an "extraordinary treat" at…

“The Shape She Makes” is a fascinating melding of theater and dance in a narrative that exposes human vulnerability in its purest form. Initially, the…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 22: 'Glee,' 'Agents…

'Glee' Rachel makes her Broadway debut in "Funny Girl." Remember when she was just a high school drama nerd? FOX, 8PM 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'…

The Word

Lindsay Lohan's big, drunk interview

Lindsay Lohan appears to be completely off the wagon now, if Kode magazine's chronicle of her trip to Coachella is any indication. According to the…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Yankees rout Red Sox, 9-3

Jon Lester allows eight runs in 4 2/3 innings taking loss

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Brewers best in baseball, Dodgers,…

MLB Power Rankings: Brewers best in baseball, Dodgers, Cardinals, Yankees surge. The A's, Braves, Rangers, Giants and Rockies are also in the top 10.

Sports

American runners stand tallest in 2014 Boston Marathon

American runners stand tallest in 2014 Boston Marathon

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon results: American Meb Keflezighi wins…

2014 Boston Marathon results: American Meb Keflezighi wins men's race

Wellbeing

How to burn off all that Easter candy

Sorry to be a buzzkill, but you can't eat chocolate eggs and Jelly Bellys forever.

Food

Powdered alcohol: 5 things to know about 'Palcohol'

What's the deal with powdered alcohol? Here's what you need to know about Palcohol.

Travel

Travel hacks: 6 tips on living out of…

Lynne Martin shares her travel hacks on living out of just two suitcases.

Wellbeing

Tough Mudder pro gives tips on conquering a…

Learn hacks from head designer Nolan Kombol.