Top IRS Official Acknowledges Mistakes in Response to Grassley Questions PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 21 May 2013 13:38

May 21, 2013 - WASHINGTON – In response to questions from Sen. Chuck Grassley, a top IRS official today acknowledged that the way the agency reportedly treated a small Iowa pro-life group would be inappropriate and took responsibility for planting a question that led to an IRS apology for targeting certain groups applying for tax exemption.

“The IRS has a lot of power over people,” Grassley said.  “When the agency abuses its power, it has to be held in check.  Otherwise, taxpayers who already fear the IRS will fear it that much more.  Distrust among taxpayers and IRS and vice versa undermine the integrity of our tax system.”

Grassley questioned recently resigned IRS acting commissioner Steven Miller at a Finance Committee hearing today on the IRS’ treatment of groups seeking tax exemption.  A recent report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found the IRS inappropriately screened groups using search terms geared toward a conservative political orientation.

Grassley asked Miller whether it was appropriate for the IRS in effect to offer a small Iowa pro-life group a quid pro quo:  the group could become a charity if it did not protest in front of Planned Parenthood.   Miller said it would not be appropriate for the IRS to offer such a quid pro quo.   The group, called Coalition for Life of Iowa, applied to the IRS for charitable status in mid-2009.  In addition to the quid pro quo suggestion, the group also received a letter from the IRS asking several invasive questions including the details of the group’s prayer meetings.

Grassley also asked Miller who at the IRS was involved in planting a question at a legal conference regarding the IRS’ treatment of conservative groups.  Miller responded that he would take responsibility for the arrangement.

On May 10, Lois Lerner, the head of the IRS tax-exempt organizations group, addressed an American Bar Association conference.  She received a question from the audience on the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups and gave a detailed defense of the IRS’ actions.  Initially, those involved claimed the question was spontaneous.  On May 14, Grassley sent a letter to the IRS raising questions about what led to the incident. Days later, the individual who asked the question admitted that the question was in fact planted at the IRS’ request.  Grassley intends to pursue more details on what led to the planted apology.

Video of Grassley’s exchange with Miller is available here.

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