House Republicans on Monday gave the public a refresher on the timeline for the IRS’s improper scrutiny of Tea Party groups seeking tax-exempt status.
The House GOP video traces the IRS’s treatment of Tea Party groups back to 2010, when President Obama criticized the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, to the agency’s acknowledgement more than four months ago that it couldn’t find all of former IRS official Lois Lerner’s emails. The video also criticizes the IRS’s efforts to craft new regulations governing the 501(c)(4) groups involved in the controversy.
Lerner, who headed the IRS division overseeing tax-exempt groups, became the central figure in the controversy after apologizing for the agency’s scrutiny.
Both Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said the GOP investigations into the IRS, now almost a year and a half old, had made progress and would continue, despite what, they say, is little cooperation from the Obama administration.
“Congress's investigation has uncovered serious, unprecedented actions taken by the IRS, which actively worked to deprive conservative groups of their rights under the Constitution,” said Camp, who’s retiring at the end of the year.
“We have stopped an IRS targeting effort that treated conservatives differently, and we have put the brakes on a new administration effort to target political participation through regulation,” Issa said. “But we have not fixed the IRS or finished our investigation of targeting that started under Lois Lerner.”
Democrats have long said that the IRS’s mistakes weren’t motivated by politics, and that there’s no proof that the White House was involved. They add that the IRS has given congressional investigators more than one million pages worth of documents.
The video comes as the IRS controversy has played, at best, a supporting role in the GOP’s pitch to voters this year. Republicans say they’ll boost their oversight of the IRS if they capture the Senate, but GOP leaders also might skip or delay an early fight over IRS funding.
Camp and Issa have not always been so in sync over the IRS investigation, either. Camp rescheduled a June hearing over Lerner’s missing emails, allowing Ways and Means the first opportunity to question John Koskinen, the IRS commissioner.