- ‘A LACK OF KNOWLEDGE’: Ineffective management at the Internal Revenue Service led to certain groups being singled out for more than 18 months based on their names or mission statements, according to a Treasury Inspector General report, ABC’s ABBY PHILLIP notes. IRS officials told IG investigators that their actions were not influenced by any outside officials or agencies. The use of inappropriate criteria to screen applicants resulted in significant delays for groups applying for tax exempt status, and also allowed unnecessary requests for information, the report found. “Criteria for selecting applications for the team of specialists should focus on the activities of the organizations and whether they fulfill the requirements of the law,” the IG report found. “Using the names or policy positions of organizations is not an appropriate basis for identifying applications for review by the team of specialists.” In addition, the report stated, “[T]he criteria developed showed a lack of knowledge in the Determinations Unit of what activities are allowed by I.R.C. § 501(c)(3) and I.R.C. § 501(c)(4) organizations.” http://abcn.ws/14nggMw ABC’s PIERRE THOMAS reported for “Good Morning America” on the FBI’s full-scale investigation of the IRS: http://abcn.ws/181ePoW
- IRS PUSHES BACK: The IRS said in a statement that it “welcomes” the report and “agrees that aspects of the original approach for handling the influx of tax-exempt applications were inappropriate, but it is important to clarify a few points.” “Inappropriate shortcuts” were used to identify groups that might be engaged in political activity, the IRS statement admitted, but said most of the groups would likely have been examined the same way regardless of whether those “shortcuts” were used to identify them. “It is also important to understand that the group of centralized cases included organizations of all political views,” the IRS statement said.
- WHITE HOUSE WEIGHS IN: “The report’s findings are intolerable and inexcusable,” President Obama said in a statement last night. “The federal government must conduct itself in a way that’s worthy of the public’s trust, and that’s especially true for the IRS. The IRS must apply the law in a fair and impartial way, and its employees must act with utmost integrity. This report shows that some of its employees failed that test.”
- ‘A CULTURE OF ROTTENNESS’: In an interview with ABC’s JEFF ZELENY, Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., the Ways and Means subcommittee chairman who is leading the first IRS Congressional hearing Friday commented on the Inspector General’s report. “At the very least it’s ineffective management,” Boustany said. “An egregious abuse has occurred…. we’re going to get to bottom of this.” He added, “This looks like a blatant abuse of power on the part of the IRS and suggests a culture of rottenness.”
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