Cummings: Treasury official held back information on IRS scrutiny

July 12, 2013 at 2:51 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, July 12 (UPI) -- A congressional Democrat said a U.S. Treasury Department official withheld information from Congress on Internal Revenue Service scrutiny of political groups.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md. -- the top Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform -- said Friday in a letter to committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., newly discovered documents show investigators determined IRS officials singled out liberal groups as well as conservative groups in evaluating applications for tax-exempt status, The Hill reported.

Cummings told Issa Treasury Department Inspector General for Tax Administration Russell George did not tell members of that determination when he testified before the committee, and said George should be called back to the committee.

Cummings said the new documents show liberal applicants for tax-exempt status were to be referred to the same IRS examiners as Tea Party applicants. George had told congressional Democrats conservative groups were more likely than liberal groups to receive extra IRS scrutiny, The Hill reported.

Issa's investigation "has been characterized by one-sided and partial information leading to unsubstantiated accusations with no basis in fact," Cummings wrote.

A Treasury Department representative said the department "stands by our findings and testimony," The Hill reported.

Republicans maintain evidence shows the IRS treated conservatives more harshly than liberals.

"As has been documented, while 100 percent of Tea Party applications were systematically stopped and scrutinized for a 27 month period, at the same time dozens of progressive applications were approved by the IRS," Issa spokesman Ali Ahmad said.

Congressional Republicans have introduced a measure to cut IRS funding.

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