CONGRESSWOMAN WALORSKI CALLS FOR ACCOUNTABILITY ON IRS SCANDAL

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Congresswoman sends letter to IRS, U.S. Treasury requesting answers to improper targeting

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and IRS Acting Commissioner Steven T. Miller requesting answers about the improper targeting of conservative groups by the Internal Revenue Service.

“I am deeply concerned by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s finding that conservative groups were deliberately targeted for investigation by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Having lived overseas for several years, I have seen firsthand the chilling effect on democracy that results from the politically-motivated targeting of so-called opposition groups,” said Walorski.

In an effort to restore transparency and demand accountability at the federal level, Walorski asked a host of pertinent questions to determine the cause of the shocking investigations, and respectfully requested a follow up from the IRS and U.S. Department of the Treasury within 30 days.

TEXT OF LETTER:

May 15, 2013

The Honorable Jack Lew

Secretary

U.S. Department of the Treasury

1500 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

Washington, D.C. 20220

Dear Secretary Lew,

I am deeply concerned by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s finding that conservative groups were deliberately targeted for investigation by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Having lived overseas for several years, I have seen firsthand the chilling effect on democracy that results from the politically-motivated targeting of so-called opposition groups. Such behavior has no place in the United States of America and is contradictory to the founding principles of our nation. Each group and individual in this country, whether conservative or liberal, has the right to hold and express their own views. I trust that you agree, and, in the spirit of transparency, I have a number of questions for your review and response.

1. Who ordered the targeted investigations of politically conservative groups?

2. When did these targeted investigations begin?

3. When did President Obama first learn of the targeting of conservative groups?

4. When did Treasury Secretary Jack Lew first learn of the targeting of conservative groups?

5. When did Acting Commissioner Steven Miller first learn of the targeting of conservative groups and was this during his time as Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement?

6. When did Lois Lerner, Director of the Exempt Organizations office, first learn of the targeting of conservative groups?

7. Who participated in the investigations of conservative groups? Please provide the names, titles, and pay grades of all those involved.

8. Which search terms and other criteria were used to target conservative groups?

9. Which conservative groups were targeted?

10. How many applications from conservative groups for 501(c)(4) status were denied? How many were approved? How many are still pending? What is the average processing time for these applications? How many days old are the five oldest applications from conservative groups in each category?

11. Were any politically liberal groups the subject of targeted investigations?

12. If politically liberal groups were the subject of targeted investigations, who participated in these investigations? Please provide the names, titles, and pay grades of all those involved.

13. If politically liberal groups were the subject of investigations, which search terms and other criteria were used to target these groups?

14. How many applications from liberal groups for 501(c)(4) status were denied? How many were approved? How many are still pending? What is the average processing time for these applications? How many days old are the five oldest applications from liberal groups in each category?

15. What official criteria are used to target groups for investigation?

16. What unofficial criteria are used to target groups for investigation?

17. The Inspector General’s [IG] report found that the IRS demanded unnecessary information from conservative groups, including information such as lists of donors; lists of issues important to the organization and the organization’s position on each issue; whether the group director had ever run or planned to run for public office; the political affiliation of group participants; the topics discussed at group activities and the role of each participant and attendee. Do you believe the request of this information was appropriate? Is the collection of this type of information ongoing?

18. The Inspector General’s report states that the IRS has not yet fully implemented IG recommendations. Why have these recommendations not yet been fully implemented and when will they be completed?

19. The Inspector General identified some organizations’ applications “with evidence of significant political campaign intervention that were not forwarded to the team of specialists for processing but should have been” while other applications were forwarded that “did not have indications of significant political campaign intervention.” Why did this occur?

I appreciate your response to these questions by June 15, 2013. I know you share my commitment to transparency and good governance, and I look forward to working with you to determine the complete facts surrounding this troubling case and which punitive actions are necessary. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact my office at (202) 225-3915.

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