On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee convened a hearing examining the circumstances of the IRS targeting of tea party and conservatives organizations. Appearing before the committee, Acting Commissioner Steven Miller began his remarks noting that the IRS hadn’t had time to prepare written testimony. He opened his remarks before the House Ways and Means Committee the same way on Friday.
The decision to not provide formal testimony on the scandal is a sign the IRS is in a bunker defense. Obviously, the agency has the resources to draft formal testimony. It presumably, at this point, has detailed information about the chain of events leading to the scandal. The decision by Miller to simply field individual questions, rather than provide an overall account of the scandal is a deliberate one.
Instead of formal testimony, Miller read a brief statement. While apologizing for the IRS actions, he said he believed the situation arose from “foolish mistakes” made to make staff’s workload more efficient. He argued a similar point before the House on Friday.
Sens. Baucus (D-MT) and Hatch (R-UT) sent the IRS a letter yesterday with 41 detailed questions covering all aspects of the scandal. The agency has until the end of the month to provide answers. Hopefully they will have time to comply.