Tea Party groups that were targeted by IRS are called to testify

The House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday will hear testimony from some of the conservative groups that received extra scrutiny from the IRS.

The hearing is the first scheduled with Tea Party groups, and the fifth in general focusing on the IRS’s targeting of groups seeking tax-exempt status. Ways and Means held the first hearing on the issue on May 17 and is now scheduled to be the first to hold multiple hearings on the matter.

Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), in the announcement on the hearing, made clear that lawmakers still have plenty of questions about how and why the targeting happened, and who authorized it.

“While we now know that the IRS began targeting individuals based on their personal beliefs three years ago, we still need to know who began this targeting and why, and we need to understand how individuals were affected by the IRS’s abuse,” Camp said in a statement.

“This hearing will provide a voice to those Americans who wound up under the IRS’s political microscope on the basis of their beliefs.”

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Lawmakers are out of Washington this week, but congressional staffers are continuing to investigate the controversy, seeking more documents from the IRS and more interviews of agency staffers. Ways and Means has already asked for a wide range of documents from the IRS that were not delivered by the May 21 deadline set by the committee.

The Ways and Means hearing will be the second in the House in as many days on the IRS, a sign that Republicans want to hit the ground running on the issue when they return next week.

Danny Werfel, the new acting IRS chief, is scheduled to make his first appearance before Congress in that role on Monday, at a hearing of a House Appropriations subcommittee.

House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is also poised to bring back Lois Lerner, the IRS official central to the controversy, after concluding that she waived her Fifth Amendment rights at a hearing last week.