WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) today called for the resignation of Acting Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Steven Miller following the release of a report last night from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) on the shameful targeting of conservative groups.
“After reviewing the official IRS IG report released yesterday, which confirmed that top IRS officials knew about the agency’s harassment of conservative groups for over a year before it was made public, I am calling on Acting Commissioner Steven Miller to step down immediately,” said Thune. “The report indicates that the abuse of power in targeting certain Americans went on for at least an 18-month period, and any IRS official who knew about this misconduct but remained silent should be fired immediately. For the administration that claimed to be the ‘most transparent in history,’ the Obama administration’s credibility gap continues to grow at an alarming rate. This sort of breach of public trust is at best the result of incompetence and at worst the result of potentially illegal and malicious conduct.
“This report also calls into question the ability of the IRS to impartially oversee the implementation of ObamaCare. Taxpayers will soon be required to report their health insurance coverage when they file their federal tax return in order to determine if they meet the new health law requirements for minimum coverage. Whether the IRS can be trusted to administer the tax laws while handling sensitive health insurance information is seriously in doubt. This growing trust deficit is alarming and should give all Americans pause.”
The TIGTA report outlines how the IRS used inappropriate criteria to identify organizations for further review of their tax-exempt status based on their names or policy positions instead of using objective criteria. Further, the report contains detailed information about how senior IRS employees found out about this outrageous misconduct and kept this information from the public and Congress for nearly two years, only disclosing information after learning that the misconduct would be released in the Inspector General’s report.
Last year, Thune and several members of the Senate Finance Committee, which has oversight of the IRS, sent three letters to the agency urging it not to play politics with the review and evaluation of any non-profit 501(c)(4) organizations. The letters questioned the practices used by the IRS and requested a review of its procedures. The IRS’ responses to the letters repeatedly failed to disclose any improper scrutiny of conservative groups.