House Ways and Means Committee to Hold Hearings on IRS Targeting of Tea Party Groups

House Ways and Means Committee to Hold Hearings on IRS Targeting of Tea Party Groups

On Friday, Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, announced that his committee would hold hearings on the IRS practice of targeting conservative groups who have applied for tax-exempt status. Earlier on Friday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said that the House would hold hearings to investigate the matter, but did not specify in which committees those hearings would be held.

According to Camp, “The IRS absolutely must be non-partisan in its enforcement of our tax laws. The admission by the agency that it targeted American taxpayers based on politics is both shocking and disappointing. The Committee on Ways and Means will thoroughly investigate this matter and will soon hold a hearing to get to the bottom of this situation. We will hold the IRS accountable for its actions.”

Also on Friday, Charles Boustany (R-LA), Chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight, sent a letter to the IRS demanding that it provide his committee with “[a]ll communications containing the words ‘tea party,’ ‘patriot,’or ‘conservative,’ [and] [n]ames and titles of all individuals involved in this discrimination.” 

The Ways and Mean Committee staff released a timeline of communications with the IRS that they say show that “the IRS repeatedly denied that they were targeting conservative grassroots organizations”:

October 6, 2011: Chairman Boustany sends letter to Commissioner Shulman requesting information regarding the tax-exempt sector. A response was requested by October 20, 2011.

November 18, 2011: The IRS responds with no mention of knowledge of targeting conservative groups.

March 1, 2012: Chairman Boustany sends a follow-up letter to Commissioner Shulman with additional questions about reports that “the IRS has been questioning new tax-exempt applicants, including grassroots political entities such as Tea Party groups.” A response was requested by March 15, 2012.

March 12, 2012: The IRS responds with no mention of knowledge of targeting conservative groups.

March 23, 2012: The IRS responds with additional information, but no mention of knowledge of targeting conservative groups.

April 26, 2012: The IRS responds with additional information, but with no mention of knowledge of targeting conservative groups.

May 3, 2012: Chairman Camp sends letter to Commissioner Shulman seeking all 501(c)(4) applications in 2010 and 2011.

June 15, 2012: The IRS responds with no mention of knowledge of targeting conservative groups.

No date has yet been set for the Ways and Means Committee hearings.

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