IRS inspector: Papers withheld

Associated Press


The investigator who wrote a scathing report about the Internal Revenue Service targeting tea-party groups says he is “disturbed” the agency withheld newly released documents showing progressive groups also may have been singled out for additional scrutiny.

IRS Inspector General J. Russell George told a congressional panel Thursday the IRS did not provide the documents to his office during a yearlong audit. George said he received the documents just last week.

George issued a report in May that said IRS agents in a Cincinnati office improperly singled out groups with “tea party” and other conservative labels for additional scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status during the 2010 and 2012 elections.

George’s report blamed ineffective management for allowing the practice to continue for more than 18 months, delaying hundreds of applications for more than a year.

Since the revelations were made public, three congressional committees and the Justice Department launched investigations and much of the top leadership was replaced, including the acting commissioner.

Last month, the IRS provided documents to Congress that suggested some liberal and progressive groups may have been singled out for additional scrutiny as well — information that was not included in George’s May report. Some Democratic lawmakers said this was proof that George’s report was one-sided.

George, however, said he first saw the documents last week.

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