Democrat Wants Treasury IG To Return To Testify

House Democrats are accusing the Treasury Department inspector general of withholding key information from his May report that would have shown there was political motive behind the flagging of Tea Party groups asking for tax-exempt status. NPR’s Tamara Keith reports.

House Oversight Committee will hold its latest hearing next week into how the IRS handled the applications of groups seeking tax exempt status. The hearings have morphed from a scandal over the targeting of Tea Party groups into something broader.

A report from IRS Inspector General Russell George said groups with Tea Party in their name were targeted for extra scrutiny for possible political activity. When asked if progressive groups were also targeted he said no.

Oversight Committee chairman, California Republican Darrell Issa, accused the president of using the IRS to target his enemies.

But documents released by the committee’s top Democrat, Elijah Cummings of Maryland, show IRS employees weren’t motivated by politics and were instructed to flag progressive groups too.

“I think the documents do open up a number of questions as to the integrity of the IGs report,” says Cummings.

Cummings is asking Issa to call on George to testify again. A spokesman says Issa is still reviewing the request and questions the significance of the newly released documents. He says regardless of who was on IRS watch lists, conservative groups were treated more harshly than progressives.

A spokeswoman for the inspector general told NPR, “We stand by our findings and testimony.”

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