Rep. Brady asks IRS: “Is this still America?”
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Rep. Brady asks IRS: “Is this still America?”
July 22, 2015

A week of political outrage was unleashed today as lawmakers threw a maelstrom of questions at Steven Miller, the former Internal Revenue Service acting commissioner who resigned two days ago by request of Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

Several Republicans slammed Miller on anecdote after anecdote of constituents who told them of their own experiences to obtain a nonprofit status for their organization and the scrutiny that they underwent. Many lawmakers said there citizens whose organization’s status is still pending.

news-image-1“Is this still America?” asked Texas Rep. Kevin Brady. “Is this government so drunk on power that it would turn its full force, full might, to harm, intimidate, and threat an average American that only wants her voice and their voices heard?”

The Republican from The Woodlands asked Miller who within the IRS was responsible for what organizations were scrutinized more than other organizations.

Miller said he couldn’t speak to specific cases but throughout the hearing iterated that it the additional consideration of the groups was not because of any “political or partisan viewpoint” but was a way to handle an overload of applications. Miller admitted there was a list.

Treasure Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George, whose report uncovered the process in the IRS’s tax exempt office. George said there was no evidence of political motivations but that there was evidence of mismanagement.

Tensions have run high for the past week, when the IRS first confessed it had exercised extra scrutiny of Tea Party organizations in the past.

Lloyd Doggett“I do not believe that partisanship motivated the people who engaged in the practices described in the treasury inspector general’s report,” Miller said Friday. “I think that what happened here was that foolish mistakes were made by people trying to be more efficient in their workload selection. The listing described in the report, while intolerable was a mistake and not an act of partisanship.”

Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett said he defends the Tea Party’s right “to be as wrong as it wants to be” but insisted the real issue is the tax code’s lack of clarity on what amount of political activity tax-exempt nonprofits can engage in. He questioned what he said was the Republican’s “exploitation” of the incident.

Doggett, a liberal from Austin, was often ridiculed by Tea Party activists during their rise in 2010.

Rep. Kenny Marchant demanded that he be provided a list of constituents whose organizations were applied for and denied or whose application remains pending.

Miller said told Marchant, a Carrollton Republican, that would be possible but with privacy complaints some information would be redacted.

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