Senator calls for review of 'partisan' action by IRS
WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) issued the following statement after the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) apologized for targeting conservative groups during the 2012 election:
“Today’s revelation that the IRS targeted average Americans using taxpayer dollars solely for disagreeing with them politically is completely unacceptable from this Administration.
“Partisan politics have consistently characterized this White House, and the Administration must take immediate disciplinary action and ensure American citizens are not subject to this type of Orwellian persecution again.”
Sen. Cornyn previously sent two letters urging the IRS to prevent politics from playing a role in any action taken on 501(c)(4) non-profit applications. In a March 2012 letter, Sen. Cornyn and 11 of his Senate colleagues also requested a detailed analysis of the agency’s process for the approval and renewal of a tax-exempt designation under section 501(c)(4).
Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups, made the admission during a conference sponsored by the American Bar Association, saying the agency had inappropriately flagged conservative political groups for additional reviews during the 2012 election.
Organizations were singled out because they included the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their applications for tax-exempt status, said. In some cases, groups were asked for their list of donors, which violates IRS policy in most cases, she said.
“That was wrong. That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate. That’s not how we go about selecting cases for further review,” Lerner said at a conference sponsored by the American Bar Association. “The IRS would like to apologize for that,” she added.
Some 75 organizations were apparently targeted. None lost their tax-exempt status.
The IRS claimed in a statement that the practice was initiated by low-level workers in Cincinnati and was not motivated by political bias. The statement said agency officials found out about the practice last year and moved to correct it, but did not say when senior officials found out.