Reps. Darrell Issa and Dave Camp, both powerful House Republican committee chairmen, blasted the Obama administration over inconsistencies in its response to the IRS scandal
In a Washington Post editorial
on Wednesday, they took White House and IRS officials to task for trying to blame workers in the Cincinnati office after it was revealed the agency targeted conservative groups applying for tax exempt status.
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"When the scandal was first revealed, the president promised the American people that the administration would 'hold the responsible parties accountable,' wrote Issa of California and Camp of Michigan. "Yet upon the direction of the president, the new IRS acting Commissioner Daniel Werfel ordered a 30-day review, upon which Werfel claimed the agency found no 'evidence of intentional wrongdoing by anyone in the IRS."
They continued, "How could a 30-day review by a new official credibly clear an entire agency after a year-long independent audit by the IRS's inspector general had just found significant unanswered questions?"
The congressmen said that despite attempts by the IRS and congressional Democrats to "smear the inspector general," the IG maintained that "the facts still support the conclusion that tea party groups were systematically scrutinized at a level above and beyond other applicants."
Meanwhile, "The White House has vacillated between indifference and acknowledgement of inappropriate IRS behavior. Consider this: On the same day President Obama bemoaned the 'phony scandals' plaguing his administration, his chief spokesman, Jay Carney, allowed that 'we need to get to the bottom of what happened at the IRS.' Which is it?" they wrote.
Issa and Camp continued, "The administration's own partisan anti-tea party rhetoric, its evolving and inconsistent explanations and the IRS's own unwillingness to fulfill the president's promises of cooperation with our investigation have fueled skepticism about how dedicated they are to holding the responsible parties accountable."
In conclusion, they wrote, "Our committees are working to find out how this happened and how we can prevent any taxpayer from being targeted."
Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Camp, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, have held hearings looking into the IRS targeting.
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