Congress investigates IRS scandal - New York News

Congress investigates IRS scandal

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WASHINGTON -

This is growing fast -- with the Washington Post reporting that despite what the IRS has said, the specific targeting of conservative groups was well-known to officials in Washington, even as it was underway.

A combative President Obama expressed outrage at reports that the IRS was apparently playing politics, targeting non-profit groups whose names included references to the Tea Party, patriots -- or even self-identified educational groups promoting the Constitution.

"It is contrary to our traditions and people have to be held accountable and it's gotta be fixed," he said.

The IRS has admitted to the effort -- but attempted to blame it on low-level employees in the agency's Cincinnati office.

The Washington  Post reports that lawyers for Tea Party groups have evidence that they were targeted by officials in Washington -- supporting the suspicions of  Tea Party leaders.

"There is no way just a couple of low level employees out of Cincinnati, Ohio who had this much influence could affect so many groups across the country literally it was coast to coast," said Jenny Beth Martin of the Tea Party Patriots.

The IRS is supposed to operate with a degree of independence from the White House -- and there is, as of yet, no evidence that white house officials were aware of what was happening.

But the agency is already in hot water for initially denying to congress that conservative groups ever faced extra scrutiny.

"There's absolutely no targeting. This is the kind of back-and-forth that happens when people apply for 501(c)(4) status," said former IRS commissioner Doug Shulman back on March 22, 2012.

Congress is moving quickly on this.  The House ways and means committee begins hearings on Friday.


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