Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) ripped into Treasury Inspector General J. Russell George on Thursday for releasing an audit on the IRS that focused narrowly on tea party groups.
Holding up documents at a House Oversight Committee hearing, Maloney said a training manual clearly stated IRS screeners should be on the lookout for both liberal and conservative groups.
“So they were training, according to their own training manual, that they were to look for ‘progressive’ when they were looking for this quote political activity,” she continued. “I think it is very clear that in their training manual they were saying look for political activity — Republican, Democrat, conservative, liberal, and tea party and progressive. Did you have this training manual? Did you ever see this training manual?”
George said he only received the document last week. He said he was concerned the IRS had not provided his investigators with other important documents. George refused to say whether the IRS had treated progressive groups the same way they tax agency treated tea party groups, but it was under investigation.
“I cannot believe you called for an audit that only looked at ‘tea party’ when you know that there is a whole array of political activity,” Maloney said. “That’s called targeting, that’s called going after people. Some Republicans in their public statements, and I have a list of them, have tried to smear the president and said he did this and he did that. I would say that your audit tried to smear, I don’t know who, but someone or blame someone by excluding a whole swath of the political establishment.”
The congresswoman told George that eighth graders could have conducted a better audit. She said it was common sense to investigate how groups on both the right and left were treated by the IRS.
George replied that the audit focused on tea party groups because they were the ones complaining about mistreatment. Congress had also requested that his agency investigate the treatment of tea party groups. He suggested if given another year, he would have exposed how the IRS treated progressive groups. However, George said it was important to release the information on tea party groups to correct IRS mismanagement.
“I would say your audit was mismanaged,” Maloney shot back.