Treasury Inspector General J. Russell George prevented the release of documents proving the IRS treated left-leaning groups the same way it treated tea party groups, acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel testified on Wednesday.
“We were imminently going to produce a document in an unredacted form that would indicate the identity of a grouping of entities that we felt were similar in a kind of scope as tea party — in terms of its grouping — so that it wouldn’t be able, you wouldn’t be able to identify a particular taxpayer because the grouping name was so broad,” he said. “And, he reached out when he learned that we were about to produce this information and expressed concern and indicated a disagreement with our internal experts on whether that information was 6103-protected or not.”
The IRS was prepared to provide the document to the House Oversight Committee, which is investigating IRS misconduct. But George personally called Werfel and claimed that releasing the document would violate taxpayer confidentiality laws. Section 6103 of the tax code prohibits the IRS from revealing specific information about taxpayers, but Werfel said no such information would be disclosed.
The document purportedly shows that left-leaning groups that applied for tax-exempt status were processed in the same manner as applications from tea party groups.
Though Democrats initially decried the mistreatment of tea party groups when the IRS scandal first broke, they have increasingly turned their attention to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Democrats have said George — a Bush appointee — released a “fundamentally flawed” investigation of the IRS that omitted key information about left-leaning groups.
The TIGTA audit released in May concluded the IRS inappropriately subjected tea party groups to additional scrutiny, but Democrats have released a growing body of evidence showing the additional scrutiny was applied across the political spectrum. George will testify before Congress again on Thursday.
Watch video, uploaded to YouTube by OversightDems, below: