The IRS has been embroiled in plenty of turmoil lately, but presumably it has nothing to do with a witch's cauldron or a satanic spell. Nevertheless, an IRS official sitting on the hot seat in Congress was asked to defend herself against mock charges she was demonic.
A subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform – the same committee that's investigating alleged wrongdoings regarding tax-exempt applications of Tea Party and other conservative groups – warned that the IRS has to improve its efforts to thwart identity theft issues.
With a Democrat in the Oval Office, the screams heard around the country were that the targeting of conservative groups was politically motivated, maybe even ordered by the Obama administration. Now the focus has shifted.
Who knew what about the "Tea Party scandal" and when? Congress continued to dig deeper into the matter last week as it interviewed staffers from the Cincinnati office of the IRS where "rogue" agents allegedly initiated the actions.
Following a new report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration turning the spotlight on a 2010 conference in California, the IRS announced it has placed two of its employees on administrative leave for "inappropriate behavior."
According to the testimony of members of six targeted groups given to the House Ways and Means Committee on June 4, the IRS held up applications for tax-exempt status, illegally released donor lists, and generally harassed organization officials.
The "Tea Party scandal" at the IRS has claimed another victim: Lois Lerner, director of the IRS Exempt Organizations (EO) division, has been placed on administrative leave after refusing to resign. Ken Corbin was promptly named the EO acting director.
After the initial round of hearings held by three congressional committees this week, at least we know the IRS wrongfully targeted conservative "tea party" groups applying for tax-exempt status. But precious little else has been revealed.
Lois Lerner, director of the IRS Exempt Organizations division, chose to invoke her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on May 22.