Under tough questioning from OH Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH), former Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller said at Friday’s House hearing on the IRS scandal that the agency provided “horrible customer service.” The statement was in response to questions from Tiberi about specific and intrusive information requests for OH based tea parties. To most Americans, it was not “customer service” that broke down at the agency, but an allegedly politically motivated targeting of groups based on their views.
Democrats at the hearing generally have acknowledged this seriousness of actions taken by the IRS, but have tried to frame the episode as a consequence of inadequate campaign finance laws. While admitting that the targeting of tea party groups was wrong, they contend it was motivated by a desire to keep campaign spending from being improperly funneled through non-profit groups.
Tiberi noted, however, that the IRS asked one tea party group to provide a reading list of its regular book club. The agency also asked for book reports on each book discussed. This intrusive request has nothing to do with political spending on campaigns.
Likewise, the crisis engulfing the IRS and Mr. Miller has nothing to do with “customer service.”