IRS Under Intense Scrutiny
On Monday, President Barack Obama referred to the alleged targeting of
conservative political groups by the Internal Revenue Service “outrageous” and
said if allegations are true, those responsible would be held “fully
accountable”. Spokesman for Obama on Friday said the IRS’s conduct was
inappropriate. During a White House news conference Monday with U.K. Prime
Minister David Cameron, President Obama said: “If you’ve got the IRS operating
in anything other than a neutral and nonpartisan way, that’s outrageous.”
Lois Lerner, unit chief of the IRS unit that oversees tax-exempt groups said on
Friday that organizations with the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their
applications, were singled out for extra reviews. Lerner apologized during a
speech at a conference in Washington.
Head of the Senate Finance Committee, Montana Democratic Senator Max Baucus said
Monday, the Internal Revenue Service should prepare for a "full investigation"
and called the revelation that the IRS targeted tea-party groups for probes of
their tax-exempt status an "outrageous abuse of power and a breach of the
public's trust." Baucus said, "I want to review the Inspector General's report
first, but the IRS should be prepared for a full investigation into this matter
by the Senate Finance Committee. The IRS will now be the ones put under
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell as well as other Republicans, request a
full probe of the IRS. Michigan Republican Representative Dave Camp who heads
the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee along with Democratic Representative
Sander Levin of Michigan, said Monday afternoon that the Committee would hold a
hearing on Friday. Steve Miller, the IRS’s acting commissioner, is on the list
as a witness. McConnell said a government-wide review should be conducted -
“aimed at assuring the American people that these thuggish practices are not
underway at the IRS or elsewhere in the administration against anyone,
regardless of their political views.”
White House press secretary Jay Carney acknowledged Monday that the White House
was informed in April that the Treasury Department's Inspector General was
investigating the IRS's Cincinnati field office, which is accused of targeting
conservative political groups for extra scrutiny. "My understanding is that the
White House Counsel’s Office was alerted in the week of April 22 of this year,
only about the fact that the IG was finishing a review about matters involving
the office in Cincinnati," Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One. "But
that’s all they were informed as a normal sort of heads up. And we have never —
we don’t have access to, nor should we, the IG’s report or any draft versions of
Reportedly, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations had tentatively
scheduled a hearing in June pertaining to their examination of the IRS as to
whether the IRS sufficiently regulated tax-exempt groups that are playing a
bigger role in politics.
In a joint statement, members of the SPSI including Democratic Senator Carl
Levin from Michigan and Republican Senator John McCain from Arizona said, "After
Friday's announcement that the IRS, to the extent that it has been enforcing the
law, may have done so in a way that singled out some groups for special
scrutiny, we have determined that the subcommittee should investigate that
U.S. Commerce Department reported on Monday that sales at U.S. retailers rose a
seasonally adjusted 0.1% in April. The reading is a sign that consumer spending
may not have softened as much as expected. Retail spending climbed 0.6%, when
excluding gasoline sales. An increase in spending was seen on clothing and
electronics, among other things. Declines were seen in spending on personal-care
stores, groceries and liquor. Sales at gas stations sank 4.7% to strike the
biggest decline in more than five years.
U.S. Commerce Department reported on Monday that business inventories remained
flat during March, at a seasonally adjusted $1.64 trillion.
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May 13, 2013