The longer the IRS scandal stays around, the worse it gets. Conservative and, particularly, Tea Party organizations were targeted by the IRS leading up to the 2012 campaign, creating a controversy that surrounds President Barack Obama.
Here are eight key figures involved in it, investigating it, or who were victims of it:
Lois Lerner was in charge of the tax-exempt division of the IRS. She was accused of taking part in or orchestrating the agency’s attempt to thwart the nonprofit status for conservative and Tea Party groups before the 2012 campaign. She invoked her Fifth Amendment rights before a congressional hearing in May 2013, was asked to resign, refused, and was then put on administrative leave.
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IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman made more than 100 visits to the White House
in the first four years of the Obama administration, more visits than any cabinet member. Shulman claimed in congressional testimony that the IRS did not target conservative groups
U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa led the investigation into the scandal as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “We followed the trail where it leads, and we saw it lead to Lois Lerner,” he said at a hearing. “She refers with disdain to conservatives; she’s an active liberal; and it’s clear her actions were set out to be detrimental to conservatives.”
Jay Carney, former White House press secretary, exposed Obama’s lies about the controversy. Carney told reporters Obama was informed of the scandal “several weeks ago,” a day after Obama claimed he just found out about it in news reports.
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Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, played a major role through his organization in uncovering evidence in the scandal. Judicial Watch performed investigative work
that led to previously undisclosed documents from the IRS being released to Congress. Many of the records showed the agency was targeting Tea Party groups.
Chris Littleton, who worked with conservative groups, discovered enormous difficulty getting tax-exempt status for the organizations that included Ohio Liberty Coalition, according to Politico
. He said he gave up attempts after a while.
Drew Ryun, a former Republican National Committee member, filled out an application for a conservative watchdog group
for the IRS in 2011. He received no response, so he applied for a group called Greenhouse Solutions and was approved by the IRS for nonprofit status in three weeks.
Catherine Engelbrecht founded True the Vote
, a conservative organization, and received no response for three years. But she and her family’s small business were soon audited by the IRS as well as investigated by the FBI during the Barack Obama scandal.
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