Republican to IRS: Audit Planned Parenthood

Republican to IRS: Audit Planned Parenthood
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A GOP lawmaker urged the IRS commissioner to audit Planned Parenthood on Thursday, suggesting that was one way the tax agency could regain the trust of taxpayers after its recent Tea Party controversy.

“There’s a general outcry right now throughout the United States of America,” Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) told the IRS chief, John Koskinen, at a House Ways and Means subcommittee hearing. 

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“But really what we’re talking about is restoring the faith and trust that the American people have to have in the IRS.”

Planned Parenthood is currently under fire after a pair of videos surfaced showing organization officials discussing fetal tissues and organs.

Republican-led committees in the House have already started investigating the organization, and GOP lawmakers have called on the Justice Department to follow suit. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has said she’s looking into the matter, while officials at the women's health organization have denied that they’ve broken any laws.

Koskinen told Kelly, at a hearing dealing with IRS audit practices, that he couldn’t comment on individual cases. But he did say that “we rely on referrals across the board” after Kelly pressed him over what sort of outside audit requests would be needed to examine Planned Parenthood’s tax-exempt status.

Republicans have taken aim at the IRS for more than two years, ever since former agency official Lois Lerner acknowledged the service singled out conservative organizations seeking tax-exempt status.

Kelly noted that Planned Parenthood, which has both tax-exempt 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) arms, reported $196 million in receipts in 2013.

501(c)(3) groups are supposed to concentrate on religious, charitable, scientific or educational activities.

“Do we really have a blind eye and a deaf ear to what’s going on there, and are these people ever going to be audited?” Kelly asked.