Schock: IRS can’t stop illegal behavior

Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) said late Friday that he worries that the Internal Revenue Service is so incompetent "that they can't stop their own illegal behavior."

The Illinois Republican, in an interview with Fox News, said that the agency was continuing to engage in the illegal targeting of conservative political groups, even after President Obama vowed the practice would stop when abuses were revealed earlier this summer.

"After the investigation had already begun, after the illegal behavior had already been exposed, they were asking pro-life groups how much of their time was being spent in prayer, how much of their time was being spent outside of abortion clinics, things that are clearly illegal for the IRS to ask when it's determining the tax-exempt status of any organization," Schock said.

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House Republicans have seized on recent testimony from an IRS screener in Cincinnati who said earlier this month that because the agency hasn't issued any guidance in the wake of the targeting scandal, all applications from political advocacy groups are referred for secondary screening. 

"The president said that, if, in fact, the claims were true, it would be outrageous. Well, the claims are true. And it is outrageous," Schock said. "And despite his promise to the American people that it was going to stop, it hasn't."

Democrats say that the complaints from congressional Republicans are overblown, and that the agency is no longer targeting specific ideological groups. President Obama himself has accused the GOP of pursuing "phony scandals," and White House press secretary Jay Carney has said that the IRS also targeted progressive groups.

In an interview with USA Today, Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.) said Republicans are "trying to twist the facts to fit their political narrative."

"This particular screener is not singling out applications but rather sending all potential political advocacy cases for secondary screening out of an abundance of caution," Levin said.

But Schock said that Democrats are just hoping the scandal fades from the headlines. 

"I would remind you that the only reason the American people are continuing to hear about this, the only reason that we know that the illegal targeting is continuing, is because we have a Republican-controlled House," Schock said. "The Democrats on the committee have already said if they ran the place, the investigation would be complete."