Skip to comments.IRS chief defends targeting of groups as 'obnoxious,' not illegal
Posted on 05/17/2013 10:12:04 AM PDT by xzins
Acting IRS chief Steven Miller on Friday said he did not believe agency officials did anything illegal when giving extra scrutiny to conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.
Miller, who was forced to resign this week by President Obama, said he didnt believe the scrutiny was illegal even as he apologized for the IRSs actions, which have turned into a political storm for the White House.
He also admitted under questioning from House Ways and Means Committee members that facts could emerge that might change whether he thinks anyone in the agency committed a crime, and he said one staffer involved in the extra scrutiny was reassigned and another received counseling.
Facing tense, and at times hostile, questions from GOP lawmakers at the first congressional hearing on the IRS controversy, Miller said the screening process the IRS used was obnoxious and called the customer service the agency offered horrible.
Miller stressed that the extra attention happened because IRS officials faced an avalanche of applications for tax-exempt status.
But he also pushed back on GOP lawmakers who said the IRS was targeting conservatives, calling that a loaded statement.
When you talk about targeting, thats a pejorative term, Miller said.
Asked if the IRS's actions had been illegal, he responded: I dont believe it is.
He then added of the behavior: I dont believe it should happen.
Millers answers have not sit well with GOP lawmakers throughout Fridays hearing, and his comments fly in the face of top Republicans like Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who have said that agency staffers should be jailed.
Republicans on Friday accused the acting IRS chief of lying to them about the extra scrutiny given to conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status. Miller found out about that special attention more than a year ago but declined to tell lawmakers.
At the start of Fridays committee hearing, Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) rattled off several different violations he believes the IRS committed.
Camp also linked the IRS uproar to what he called a culture of cover-ups and political intimidation in this administration, an apparent reference to last years attack in Benghazi, Libya, and the Justice Departments subpoena of reporter records.
This systemic abuse cannot be fixed with just one resignation, Camp said. And, as much as I expect more people need to go, the reality is this is not a personnel problem. This is a problem of the IRS being too large, too powerful, too intrusive and too abusive of honest, hardworking taxpayers.
But Republicans on the panel have also expressed frustration throughout the hearing at Millers sometimes feisty answers, with the acting chief maintaining that he did not lie to them.
You're not going to cooperate with me, Mr. Miller, and you've been uncooperative in this hearing, Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) told the IRS official.
Democrats acknowledged that the IRS had made serious mistakes and generally agreed with Millers statements that agency officials did not target Tea Party and conservative groups for political reasons.
What I'm trying to point out, and basically to debunk, is the notion or idea the political statements and, I believe, nonfactual statements by Chairman Camp to link these scandals to the White House, said Rep. Joe Crowley (N.Y.), a member of House Democratic leadership.
Democrats also stressed repeatedly that the Doug Shulman, who was IRS commissioner when the targeting took place, was nominated by former President George W. Bush. And several said that the major issue was the cloudy regulations guiding which groups should be granted tax-exempt status.
Miller is testifying along with Russell George, the Treasury inspector general whose report details what he called ineffective management at the agency.
Georges report found that the IRS asked for excessive information from conservative groups, including donor lists and whether group leaders wanted to run for public office. The IRS also applied inconsistent principles when deciding which groups to give extra screening, the report said, leading some groups to wait months or years for approval.
According to the inspector generals report, Lois Lerner, the IRS official who first disclosed the targeting, found out in June 2011. Lerner pushed for the screening guidelines to be changed, but other IRS officials eventually went around her to change them again.
Georges report also says that IRS staffers assert that lower-level employees crafted the screening process and that they were not influenced by any outside group.
Miller on Friday acknowledged that Lerners disclosure of the IRS targeting last Friday came from a planted question.
Camp had said in his opening statement that he was interested in hearing why the IRS targeting occurred and why the agency kept it secret for so long, who started the extra scrutiny, and when President Obama and his administration found out.
But in a hearing break, he told The Hill that he wasnt satisfied with the answers the panel was getting from Miller, a feeling shared by other Republicans.
On the one hand, youre arguing today that the IRS is not corrupt, said Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.). But the subtext of that is you say, Look, were just incompetent. And I think it is a perilous pathway to go down.
Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/domestic-taxes/300447-irs-chief-defends-targeting-of-groups-as-obnoxious-not-illegal#ixzz2TZRy5P6d Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook
Miller and his friends in the IRSS are the pinnacle of arrogant big government corrupt liars..
That hearing was an incredible conga-line of lies...
No you a-wipe. It is a violation of federal law, the Hatch Act, to do what Obama had you do.
So who will apologize to Nixon?
when you could wind up doing some serious time,
it is usually better to keep QUIET (and let your lawyer talk for you)
Let's see what the Lawyers say.
The law violated is: http://www.osc.gov/documents/hatchact/federal/5cfr734.pdf
Subpart CProhibited Activities § 734.301 Exclusion from coverage.
This subpart does not apply to employees in the agencies and positions described in subpart D of this part.
§ 734.302 Use of official authority; prohibition.
(a) An employee may not use his or her official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election.
(b) Activities prohibited by paragraph
(a) of this section include, but are not limited to:
§ 734.305 Soliciting or discouraging the political participation of certain persons.
(a) An employee may not knowingly solicit or discourage the participation in any political activity of any person who has an application for any compensation grant, contract, ruling, license, permit, or certificate pending before the employees employing office.
(b) An employee may not knowingly solicit or discourage the participation in any political activity of any person who is the subject of, or a participant in, an ongoing audit, investigation, or enforcement action being carried out by the employees employing office.
(c) Each agency or instrumentality of the United States or District of Columbia Government shall determine when a matter is pending and ongoing within employing offices of the agency or instrumentality for the purposes of this part.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
see post #7
Miller, who was forced to resign this week by President Obama
HE was THROWN UNDER THE OBAMA BLAME BUS!
It’s called “DISCRIMINATION”.
And last time i checked, it IS illegal.
Steven Miller wasn’t even acting commissioner during the time the targeting took place. He was in charge of big business division and then “services and enforcement.”
A guy named Shulman was in charge at the time. So Obama’s firing of a guy who wasn’t even there, and who is able to retire, is an in-your-face.
What do I think?
What I know is Miller and his corrupt IRS sidekick were lying nearly every time they spoke.
These people have no respect for freedom, the American people or the Constitution...Of course laws were breached.
The House needs to hold a vote to Abolish the IRS with a Flat tax. Let the Democrats vote for the corrupt IRS now.
Who gives a damn? Is he not just another brick in the corrupt biggov wall?
Did you not hear his lying evasive, deceitful responses?
Was it not obvious to you he's part of this choreographed corrupt government cover up?
I guess that now we taxpayers can refuse to pay our federal taxes, and we can argue that our refusal to pay our taxes is merely "obnoxious" and not "illegal." Too funny.
I would like to know if all the applications from tea party groups for tax-exempt status are now being fast-tracked at the IRS.
And I would like to see what the new questionnaire looks like.
I think you, like other members who will post violations of ‘law’, show, again, that the Law is not made for those in D.C., but for We the People, whom they attempt to bleed ($$) dry.
There is no longer Equal Protection under the Law, there is no Constitution; we are a lawless Democracy on the way down to revolt, upheaval and despair. We are certainly over the ~200 yr run of those in the past.
Forced to resign my ass. He had already put in his papers, and now Obama wants to play hard ass by saying he forced it.
Lying sacks of crap, just can’t help it they have to lie.