IRS Officials to be on the Hot Seat
By Mark Memmott
Both the former IRS commissioner who was in charge when the agency singled out some conservative groups for extra scrutiny and the man who replaced him will be appearing at a Senate Finance Committee hearing Tuesday morning.
Douglas Shulman, an appointee of President George W. Bush who left the IRS last November, and acting commissioner Steven Miller (who is losing his job because of the scandal) are due at the 10 a.m. ET hearing.
Also set to testify: J. Russell George, the Treasury Department's inspector general for tax administration, who reported last week on the "inappropriate" criteria that some IRS personnel used when considering the applications for tax-exempt status from groups who identified themselves as "tea party" or "patriot" organizations.
On Friday, Miller told a House committee that "foolish mistakes were made by people trying to be more efficient in their workload selection." He insisted that the actions were not partisan. Republican lawmakers did not buy his explanation. Democrats, while expressing outrage over the singling out of some groups, tried to make the case that because the extra scrutiny began in 2010 — when Bush-appointee Shulman was running the IRS — partisanship was not a factor.
Tuesday's hearing will be Shulman's first opportunity to address the scandal in public. We'll watch for news from the hearing and update.