Rep. Dave Camp, the chairman of House Ways and Means Committee, said that IRS has the culture to target organizations which go beyond extra scrutiny that is given to the groups of Tea Party.
While suggesting pattern, Camp did list the donors’ gift-tax audits to one group which supported war within Iraq, release of the confidential information through other groups as well as many questions to the organizations that are Republican-leaning.
One Michigan Republican, Camp, said that Americans did get affected by this culture of political discrimination and intimidation which was cultivated due to this targeting. He further said that only for exercising the rights of First Amendment, freedoms of expression, religion and association, IRS had them singled out.
This hearing signaled to the 2 parties’ different views regarding investigations in tax agency in the previous month. According to Republicans, IRS showed bias against the small-government groups whereas according to Democrats, the controversy was due to many continuous errors and rules and laws quite flawed.
While talking to representatives from the groups of tea party at witness table, one Washington Democrat, Rep. Jim McDermott, said that he was talking that whether American taxpayers would or wouldn’t subsidize their work and that he was also talking related to tax break.
Included in the witnesses who testified at the hearing of today was John Eastman, the chairman of National Organization for Marriage. He said that political opponents of the group received the confidential information also including one donor list which contained the markings suggesting that it came from IRS. That couldn’t be really inadvertent and that does have chilled donors.
He said that one could imagine the disgust and shock over it and that he was stonewalled during attempts to have the information regarding release of document from IRS or IRS’s inspector general. He said that the group of Eastman isn’t in favour of same-sex marriage.
IRS said that the investigation of inspector general found that release of the information wasn’t deliberate.
A report released by inspector general said that IRS spent $4M on one conference in 2010 for the employees that were in Anaheim, California, including the $17,000 for one speaker who did paint U2 singer Bono and Michael Jordan’s pictures to motivate the employees.
$49M was spent by tax agency on about 225 conferences during fiscal year 2010 – 2012. Two top officials of IRS stayed in the presidential suites which cost typically from $1499 to $3500 in Anaheim for a night, the most costly of conferences, according to the report.
A hearing is to take place on June 6 on IRS spending by The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Testifying to Ways and Means Committee was Sue Martinek, the president of Coalition for Life of Iowa, that, according to her , wasn’t asked to protest at the Planned Parenthood as one condition of acquiring tax-exempt status.
The top democrat of Ways and Means, Rep, Sander Levin, said that he thought IRS request that was made to the anti-abortion group of Martinek was quite worse than being inappropriate.
Justice Department and 6 congressional committees are investigating IRS.
The president of Laurens County Tea Party within South Carolina, Dianne Belson, said that she was still waiting so that it could hear from IRS on application by her group for the tax-exempt status subsequent to answering extensive and repeated questionnaires from agency.
She said that around 3 years waiting for some answer is fully unacceptable. She further says that IRS does need to be investigated fully and also held accountable when it comes to the harassment, incompetence as well as targeting of the conservative groups.
President of Wetumpka Tea Party in Alabama, Becky Gerritson, said that she did not want to show the volunteers’ lists to IRS.
She said that the questions were indeed chilling and she was shocked about being asked such questions.