IRS takes another beating on Capitol Hill

June 4, 2013 at 5:27 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 4 (UPI) -- Conservative groups testified on Capitol Hill Tuesday about the haranguing they received from the Internal Revenue Service.

IRS officials have admitted employees targeted conservative groups for added scrutiny in tax-exempt status requests.

Several who have filed lawsuits told their stories to a U.S. House committee Tuesday. The group included Kevin Kookogey of the Linchpins of Liberty who said his application for a tax exempt 501(c)(3) status took two-and-a-half years when the normal application process takes two to four months. Dianne Belsome of the Laurens County (S.C.) Tea Party said IRS workers inquired about members' voter affiliation and members of an Iowa anti-abortion group claimed they were told they would receive their tax-exempt status only if they promised not to protest Planned Parenthood, The Hill said Tuesday.

The hearing, held by the House Ways and Means committee, is the fifth since the IRS scandal broke.

In separate but equally bad news for the tax agency, an inspector general's report was released Tuesday that found the IRS spent $49 million on 225 conferences across the country from 2010 to 2012. That includes one division's $4 million affair in Anaheim, Calif., where employees made parody videos of "Star Trek" and "Gilligan's Island" -- which became public last week.

The report called several of the expenditures "questionable."

Danny Werfel, the new acting IRS commissioner, told lawmakers at a separate hearing from the one with conservative groups he's working furiously on a top-to-bottom agency review and pledged to hold accountable those who are responsible for the politically motivated decisions and wasteful spending.

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