Authored by Rick Moran, originally posted at American Thinker,
When the IRS was targeting conservative groups seeking tax exempt status for special scrutiny, they demanded the list of donors supporting those groups in 17 cases. Despite assurances from the agency that the lists had been destroyed, a search requested by Congress revealed that at least 3 lists had survived.
- And of the donors on those lists, fully 10% of the individuals had been audited.
- The rate of audits for ordinary Americans is about 1%.
Now, the House Ways and Means Oversight Committee is demanding that the Government Accountability Office investigate the IRS to see why so many Tea Party donors were audited.
“The committee uncovered new information indicating that after groups provided the information to the IRS, nearly one in 10 donors were subject to audit,” Rep. Charles W. Boustany Jr., Louisiana Republican and chairman of the Ways and Means Committee’s oversight panel, told IRS Commissioner John Koskinen at a hearing Wednesday.
“The abuse of discretion and audit selection must be identified and stopped,” he said.
Mr. Koskinen didn’t specifically address the accusations during the hearing, and the IRS didn’t respond to a request for comment late Wednesday evening.
Republicans said 24 conservative groups were asked for their donor lists. The IRS initially told Congress that those lists were destroyed, but when they went through their files they discovered three lists that weren’t destroyed.
Rep. Dave Camp, Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, asked the IRS to review the names on those lists to see whether any had been audited. The IRS reported back that 10 percent were audited — substantially higher than the average rate of 1 percent of average Americans who are audited each year.
Mr. Boustany said he has asked the Government Accountability Office, Congress‘ chief watchdog, to look at how the IRS Exempt Organizations Division decided whom to audit. He said the GAO review is underway and demanded that Mr. Koskinen offer investigators full cooperation.
“IRS has long insisted that Americans should not worry about political targeting at your agency because the IRS has layers of internal protections to guard against it. But in the course of our investigation, however, we found that Lois Lerner acted in defiance of these internal protections,” Mr. Boustany said.
So not only was asking for the donor lists in the first place a violation of regulations, the evidence strongly suggests that the IRS tried to intimidate Tea Party donors by auditing their tax returns.
No other federal agency has the ability to make your life as miserable as the IRS is capable of doing. The GAO has to get to the bottom of this in order to name those who would use the power of government to intimidate ordinary Americans and fire them. Even the appearance of impropriety should get them canned.