Questions remain as to whether Steven T. Miller resigned from his position as acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service or if the Obama administration forced him out as a result of the controversy surrounding the agency’s targeting of tea party and other conservative organizations. President Barack Obama called the IRS’s actions “inexcusable.”
“Americans are right to be angry about it, and I’m angry about it,” Obama said, saying that he “will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but especially in the IRS, given the power that it has and the reach that it has.”
Miller is no stranger to accusations that he took part in probing conservative organizations’ tax status. Miller, an IRS lawyer since 1987, investigated conservative organizations during the Clinton administration. The Washington D.C. based watch dog group Judicial Watch was one of many right of center groups that faced scrutiny by Miller’s Services and Enforcement Division during the 1990’s.
Other organizations the IRS probed during the Clinton years included: The National Review, The Heritage Foundation, The National Rifle Association, The American Spectator, National Center for Public Policy Research, Freedom Alliance, Citizens Against Government Waste, and Concerned Women for America.
In 2000, the Joint Committee on Taxation investigated the allegations relating to the IRS’s handling of tax exempt organizations. Essentially, the committee came to the conclusion the groups who claimed to be singled out by the IRS for their political views could not claim they were targeted as a result of any bias or misconduct by the agency.
Senator Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) served on that committee and stands by its findings. Antonia Ferrier, Press Secretary for Senator Hatch wrote to Breitbart News stating that comparing the present day IRS scandal to the allegations against the IRS from conservative organizations from the 90’s was comparing “apples to oranges.”:
This investigation from 13 years ago found there was not enough evidence to validate these assertions. Today after a treasury IG investigation, the IRS admits it targeted conservative organizations starting in 2010, because of their political beliefs. In fact, he was one of the first Senators to speak out to the IRS after he learned of this from conservative groups. He wrote to the IRS back in 2010 concerned that the agency would become political looking at 501c4s. And in 2012, he wrote three separate letters to the agency asking whether conservative groups were being targeted. The IRS in all of its responses never let on that this was happening. Sen. Hatch has said that the IRS lied to him and called for Acting Commissioner Miller to go. He also wants to know how conservative donor information ended up getting leaked to liberal groups; this is a federal crime. Leading a Finance Committee investigation into this profiling, there is no greater advocate for getting to the truth and stopping this abuse of power from ever happening again than Sen Hatch.