Rep. Joe Crowley Friday all but accused Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner of lying to Congress about the agency's targeting of conservative groups and joined Rep. Sander Levin in calling for her immediate resignation or firing.
Crowley, a New York Democrat, said Friday on MSNBC's Jansing & Co. that Lerner "failed to answer the question" when she was asked at a Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee hearing last week if the IRS was investigating political 501 (c) (4) groups that had applied for tax-exempt status through the agency division she headed.
"She then two days later planted a question at a press event, only to then use that opportunity to apologize for what the IRS had been doing," Crowley continued.
He said he confronted her later and she denied that she had even been asked about the targeting effort at the hearing.
"The truth was, I had asked in Congress at a committee hearing two days earlier," Crowley said, adding: "If you're Miss Lerner, you're worried about your career right now."
Crowley and Michigan Democrat Levin, the top two members of their party on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, called for Lerner to resign, and failing that, to be fired for her conduct in trying to control fallout from IRS controversy, which has now turned into a full-blown scandal.
Crowley insisted, however, that the White House was not aware or involved in the targeting effort, citing the inspector general's report released earlier this week indicating it did not stretch beyond the tax collection agency.
Like Republicans, he said he was angry, too, but added that GOP lawmakers are wrong to claim that Obama knew about it or, even worse, had orchestrated it, much as Richard Nixon had done with the Watergate cover-up nearly 41 years ago.
"It’s about partisanship once again and trying to somehow link this to the White House. It’s the same old, same old, exactly what people are really angry about what is happening in Washington today," he said, criticizing the GOP.
"Really we should all be outraged by what took place. I am. No political entity ought to be investigated or gone after by the IRS."
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