In a letter sent on Tuesday to acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service Steve Miller, ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee Rep. Sander Levin, D.-Mich., joined with Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp, R.-Mich., in demanding the IRS answer 13 questions and turn over all documents, including any potential communication between the IRS and the White House, pertaining to the recent revelation that the agency has been unfairly scrutinizing conservative and Tea Party groups for tax exempt status for the last two years.
“We are deeply troubled by the recent admission of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that the agency has been singling out organizations for additional review based on their political beliefs,” the Representatives write. “Despite repeated calls for cooperation, the agency failed to be completely truthful in its responses to the Committee during its nearly two-year long investigation of this matter, and in testimony before the Committee. It is especially concerning that only now is the IRS admitting these discriminatory practices on the eve of public admonishment by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).”
The questions asked in the letter pertain to how much the heads of the IRS knew about the issue, as well as any possible knowledge that the White House may have had.
“Did the IRS at any time notify the White House of the targeting of conservative or any other groups? Provide all documents and communications between the IRS and the White House on this matter.”
The Representatives also ask who approved of the scrutiny towards conservative groups.
“Who approved, prepared, or was consulted in the preparation of the IRS’s responses to the Committee, including responses dated July 1, 2011, November 18, 2011, March 12, 2012, March 23, 2012, April 26, 2012, and June 15, 2012?”
The White House has denied any knowledge of the IRS’s actions towards conservative groups, and Pres. Obama called the agency’s actions “intolerable and inexcusable.”
Because of this scandal, Miller is being removed from his position as acting commissioner, Obama announced on Wednesday.
“Americans have a right to be angry about it and I am angry about it,” Obama said. “I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency but especially the IRS given the power that it has and the reach that it has in all of our lives.”
“[I]t should not matter what political stripe you’re from … the fact of the matter is that the IRS has to operate with absolute integrity,” Obama continued.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will take Miller’s place.
Last week, The Associated Press broke the story that the IRS has been targeting conservative groups. The scandal has hounded the Obama White House, which has been in the midst of several other controversies, including testimony before Congress on the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on Benghazi and the revelation that the Justice Department has been spying on AP reporters.