House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp said today that the Internal Revenue Service used “a broken tax code to abuse individuals” simply based on their beliefs.
Camp then listed the facts that are known, including:
- March 2010 – IRS put together a target list that ensnared conservative groups and individuals based solely on their political beliefs.
- May 2011- the IRS started sending letters threatening donors to conservative leaning non-profits that they could be liable for gift taxes.
- June 2011- the Ways and Means Committee initiated an investigation into those letters and highlighted concerns that individual taxpayers might have been targeted for their political beliefs.
- June 2011- the senior leadership in the Washington, DC office of the IRS also became aware that IRS workers had been using lists to target groups with names containing “Tea Party,” “Patriots” or “9/12 Project.”
- March 2012 – the Huffington Post published the confidential 2008 donor list of the National Organization for Marriage, a conservative tax-exempt organization.
- July 2012 – the Administration (thru the Treasury Department) was informed by the Treasury Inspector General of a TIGTA audit examining the targeting of groups by the IRS.
- May 2013 – the public and Congress were finally told that this practice had occurred, but only after a scathing report by TIGTA resulted in senior IRS officials planting a question about the targeting activity prior to the report’s release.
“And just this weekend,” Camp stated, “the Wall Street Journal reported that the IRS gift tax letter that launched this Committee’s initial investigation was in fact the result of a conservative organization and its donors being targeted for their political beliefs.”
Just who testified today?
According to a report and schedule in the Washington Post, while all members of the House Ways and Means committee were allowed to invite witnesses, democrats did not invite any witnesses to testify.
The reason may have been a means to show bipartisanship, as one spokesman, Josh Drobnyk, made it clear democrats were focused on hearing “…insight into the IRS’ processing of tax-exemption applications.”
Invited witnesses, testimony links, and their organizations were:
1. John Eastman, Chairman, National Organization for Marriage
2. Diane Belsom, Laurens County, S.C. Tea Party
3. Becky Gerritson, Wetumpka, Ala. Tea Party
4. Karen Kenny, San Fernando Valley, Calif. Patriots
5. Kevin Kookogey, founder and president, Linchpins of Liberty
6. Sue Martinek, Coalition for Life of Iowa
“Today’s witnesses will help this Committee and the American people better understand just how far off track the IRS has gone. Their testimony will show that the IRS’s practice of treating certain Americans differently on the basis of their beliefs was not limited to the discriminatory conduct revealed by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s report released on May 14, 2013,” Camp said.
At its core, Camp believes the investigation is about how and why the IRS was “… empowered and allowed to use a broken tax code to abuse individuals based on their beliefs – and seemingly only based on their beliefs.”