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Top Dem Targets Inspector General Who Uncovered IRS Scandal

7:55 AM, Jul 13, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
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The top Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Rep. Elijah Cummings, sent a letter to the top Republican on that committee, Darrell Issa, targeting the man who uncovered the IRS scandal, Inspector General Russell George. Cummings wants to bring George back to testify in front of the committee because he has "serious questions" about previous statements he made about the IRS scandal.

Cummings

"On Wednesday, you announced that the Committee will be holding a hearing on July 18, 2013, focusing on “the development and execution of the process by which Tea Party applications were delayed and scrutinized” by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The Committee’s investigation is based on a report issued on May 14, 2013, by Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, who testified before the Committee on May 22, 2013," Cummings writes in his letter to Issa.

"Since that hearing, the Committee has obtained new documents that raise serious questions about the Inspector General’s report, his testimony before Congress, and his subsequent assertions in letters to Members of Congress. For these reasons, I request that Mr. George be recalled to testify at Thursday’s hearing. This letter sets forth information about the new documents obtained by the Committee and the serious questions they raise."

The top Democrat believes George's investigation was seriously flawed. He writes:

New documents obtained by the Committee indicate that Mr. George did not disclose to the Committee—either in his report or during his testimony—that he met personally with his top investigator and tasked him to conduct a review of 5,500 emails of IRS employees, and that this official concluded after this review that there was “no indication that pulling these selected applications was politically motivated”—a fact this official reported was “very important.” New documents also indicate that all references to work conducted by this official and his team of investigators were scrubbed from an earlier draft of the Inspector General’s report.

According to Cummings, the IG didn't note the "Progressive" groups were targeted by the IRS, too:

New documents obtained by the Committee indicate that Mr. George did not disclose to the Committee, or was completely unaware of, documents directing IRS employees how to review and process applications for tax exempt status from “Progressive” groups alongside “Tea Party” and “9/12 Project” groups.

And so, Cummings claims, were Occupy Wall Street groups:

New documents obtained by the Committee indicate that Mr. George did not disclose to the Committee that the IRS office in Cincinnati added a new entry to its “Be On The Lookout” (BOLO) document—on January 25, 2012—directing staff to forward applications from groups associated with the Occupy Wall Street movement to Group 7822, the same group in the Cincinnati office that was designated to handle Tea Party applicants.

Cummings, in conclusion, turns on the IG's credibility. "This investigation, however, has been characterized by one-sided and partial information leading to unsubstantiated accusations with no basis in fact. You did not consult with me before asking Mr. George to undertake his review, and Mr. George did not provide me with copies of his subsequent correspondence with you. In addition, Democratic staff were not invited to meetings your staff had with Mr. George’s staff to discuss the scope of his work," he claims.

Cummings expects a response to these charges from Issa by Monday.

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