Sen. Hatch calls for Finance Committee hearing, investigation into IRS

ADVERTISEMENT
Hatch's request for an investigation and committee hearing was made in a letter to Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the committee chairman, on Monday.

"I respectfully request that you immediately schedule a hearing on this issue so that the members of the committee and the American public can learn the details surrounding this reported behavior," Hatch writes in the letter.

The letter follows the IRS apologizing on Friday for targeting Tea Party groups with a high level of scrutiny during the 2012 presidential election. Since the apology, a number of lawmakers, including a few Democrats, have condemned the IRS's focus on the groups. Some lawmakers have called for a Congressional investigation into the matter. Hatch said he "strongly" supports an investigation. Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) called for the resignation of the acting commissioner of the IRS and asked that Baucus and Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) the chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, hold hearings on the IRS's targeting of the conservative organizations.

"Bipartisanship on this issue is critical since both Democrats and Republicans have expressed considerable interest in these matters over the past couple of years," Hatch writes in the letter. "As the sole committee of jurisdiction over the IRS, it is critical that Finance Committee play a leadership role in examining this issue. We have an important role to play in helping restore the confidence of the American people in this important agency due to this blatant political and partisan behavior. I look forward to working with you on this critical matter."

President Obama pushed back on assertions that there was a large administration cover-up surrounding the political targeting. Obama said the agency's actions were "outrageous." 

Read Hatch's letter below:

Dear Sen. Baucus:

As the Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, I am deeply troubled by the recent revelations from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) indicating that the agency had specifically targeted certain politically conservative groups for extra scrutiny as part of their review of applications for tax-exempt 501(c)(4) status.  It is apparent that these groups were asked inappropriate questions about the identity of their donors.  Other Republican members of the committee have expressed similar concerns.  I respectfully request that you immediately schedule a hearing on this issue so that the members of the committee and the American public can learn the details surrounding this reported behavior.

I was encouraged to hear your comments this morning in favor of a full investigation into this matter by the Finance Committee.  I strongly support such an effort and it is essential that we proceed in a bipartisan manner.  Bipartisanship on this issue is critical since both Democrats and Republicans have expressed considerable interest in these matters over the past couple of years.  As the sole committee of jurisdiction over the IRS, it is critical that Finance Committee play a leadership role in examining this issue.  We have an important role to play in helping restore the confidence of the American people in this important agency due to this blatant political and partisan behavior.  I look forward to working with you on this critical matter.

Sincerely,

Orrin G. Hatch

Ranking Member