On Tuesday, the new head of the IRS apologized to conservative groups that were targeted by the agency.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen’s remarks came while testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee. Koskinen, who was not in charge of the agency at the time of the unfolding scandal, said that such targeting would be “intolerable,” and he assured the House subcommittee that there is no ongoing targeting. “It won’t happen going forward,” Koskinen said. “And to the extent that people suffered accordingly, I apologize for that.”
The comments from the Commissioner were not as brash as President Obama’s were on Sunday when he told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that there was “not even a smidgen of corruption” by the IRS.
During the hearing, David Camp (R-MI) accused the IRS of targeting conservative groups and obstructing their ability to gain tax exempt status. He asserted, “Cincinnati was approving tea party cases before getting orders from Washington, D.C., to hold them, and that they were processing them without delay and without intrusive questions.” Camp continued by saying, “It wasn’t confusion–it was Washington, D.C., that caused conservative groups to be targeted and harassed.”
Currently, there are six ongoing investigations into the IRS matter. Koskinen told the committee that it would be premature to draw any conclusions at this point because of the continued exploration of the fiasco, and the investigation is not complete: “There has been a lot of statements made in the face of an open investigation that would appear to be drawing conclusions prior to the conclusion of that investigation.”
Earlier in the week, the new head of the IRS drew criticism from Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) when Koskinen announced he was reinstating canceled 2013 employee bonuses. Hatch is bewildered by why the IRS, which has employees who “inappropriately” targeted conservative political groups, would reinstate the rewards.