Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) blistered outgoing acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller on Friday at a House Ways Means Committee hearing and said it was difficult to conclude that he did not mislead the Committee last year about how the IRS had been targeting Tea Party and conservative groups.
Miller was reportedly told in May of 2012 that the IRS was targeting conservative and Tea Party groups, but failed to disclose that in testimony before the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee on July 25, 2012, even though he was asked about it.
“How can we not conclude that you misled this committee?” Ryan asked, after recounting some of Miller’s answers last year.
Ryan reminded Miller that he was asked, then added, “What kind of letter or action is being taken place at this time that you are aware of?”
Miller, in explaining why he omitted any references to the IRS’s targeting of conservative and Tea Party groups last year, said he was not referring to the “treatment of the cases” and was instead discussing “the letters” conservative groups that had been targeted received when he was answering questions last year. He said he had been hearing that “people are complaining about letters.”
“My response was to that,” Miller said. “We dealt with them. We gave [groups that complained] more time…” .
Ryan was not buying Miller’s answers.
Ryan reminded Miller he did not mention there was “targeting based on ideology” and did not reveal the targeting was “based on buzzwords like Tea Party or Patriots” during last year’s testimony.
“You knew that but you didn’t mention this to this Committee,” Ryan said. “Do you not think that that’s a very incomplete answer?”
Miller insisted that he had answered the question “truthfully.”
On Wednesday, President Barack Obama announced that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew had asked for and accepted Miller’s resignation after an Inspector General’s audit revealed the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups was “inappropriate.”
Miller had already intended to leave his post next month.