The Internal Revenue Service had a culture of targeting some organizations that went beyond the extra scrutiny given to Tea Party groups, said Representative Dave Camp, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Suggesting a pattern, Camp at a hearing today cited gift- tax audits of donors of a group that supported the war in Iraq, the release of confidential information from other groups and questions to more Republican-leaning groups.
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“Americans were affected by the culture of political intimidation and discrimination that was cultivated by this targeting,” Camp, a Michigan Republican, said as he opened a Ways and Means hearing where representatives of the affected groups will testify. “For simply exercising their First Amendment rights -- the freedoms of association, expression and religion, the IRS singled them out.”
Among the witnesses to testify at today’s hearing are John Eastman, chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, whose political opponents received confidential information. Also scheduled to testify is Sue Martinek, president of the Coalition for Life of Iowa, which was asked to refrain from protesting at Planned Parenthood as a condition of receiving tax-exempt status.
The hearing is the panel’s second since the IRS revealed May 10 that it had selected some groups with Tea Party and patriot in their names for tougher scrutiny of their applications for tax-exempt status.
Six congressional committees and the Justice Department are investigating the IRS.
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