Acting IRS Chief Says It Wasn't About Politics - WSPA.com

Acting IRS Chief Says It Wasn't About Politics

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Acting IRS Chief Says It Wasn't About Politics

The man who's just been forced out as acting chief of the IRS is apologizing for what he calls "the mistakes that we made and the poor service we provided."

Steven Miller has been testifying today to the House Ways and Means Committee about the IRS targeting of conservative groups, which got tougher scrutiny for their applications for tax-exempt status.

Miller insisted that political bias wasn't the reason for the heightened scrutiny. Instead, he said, the IRS was struggling to efficiently handle growing numbers of applications for the tax-exempt status.

But Republicans on the panel made it clear they want IRS officials to pay a bigger price.

Even though Miller and another top IRS official are stepping down, Republican committee chairman Dave Camp of Michigan said that wouldn't be enough. He said it's not a "personnel problem" -- but instead a problem of "the IRS being too large, too powerful, too intrusive and too abusive of honest, hardworking taxpayers."

He also said the activity seems to be a part of a broader pattern of intimidation and cover-ups by the Obama administration.

That brought a sharp retort from the committee's top Democrat, Sander Levin, who said the hearing shouldn't become a preview of next year's political campaigns.

Official still probing political pressure on IRS

The Treasury Department's top investigator for tax matters is telling Congress that he is still investigating whether outside political pressure caused the Internal Revenue Service to improperly target conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

The Treasury inspector general for tax administration, J. Russell George, made the comment in remarks prepared for delivery Friday to the House Ways and Means Committee.

George released a report this week that criticized IRS officials for lax management that let workers target tea party and other conservative groups for intensified scrutiny.

The report said IRS officials have said they received no outside political pressure to change their standards to focus on the conservatives.

George says the IRS actions raise questions about whether the agency treated all taxpayers fairly, a basic part of its mission.

Posted: May 15, 2013

President Barack Obama says the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, Steven Miller, has submitted his resignation in the aftermath of an investigation that found the agency improperly targeted conservative groups.

Obama says Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew requested Miller's resignation.

Obama says he also insists that safeguards be put in place to prevent reoccurrence of improper actions.

Obama has been under pressure to act in the aftermath of acknowledgement by top IRS officials that conservative groups were improperly singled out. An investigation by a Treasury inspector general found that the IRS used inappropriate criteria that identified for review tea party and other conservative groups that were seeking tax exempt status.

Obama spoke from the White House East Room after conferring with Lew and his top deputy.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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