Republican lawmakers are calling for the Treasury Department inspector general to widen a probe of the Internal Revenue Service to learn how the agency "improperly disclosed confidential information about certain conservative groups."
In a letter to Inspector General J. Russell George, GOP members of the Senate Finance Committee said they wanted to know how ProPublica, the Human Rights Campaign, and The Huffington Post were able to obtain confidential information conservative groups provided to the IRS when seeking tax-exempt status.
Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, the top Republican on the Finance panel, has asked for details from the IRS before, but the agency has yet to respond, the letter noted.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also called for a broader investigation in remarks Thursday on the Senate floor.
According to Politico
, Republican Finance panel members pointed to several instances where IRS employees mishandled sensitive information. One involved a Freedom of Information request from ProPublica, that resulted in the IRS releasing applications for tax exempt status from 67 social welfare groups, but added information on nine other applications that had yet to be approved . One of them was Crossroads GPS, the umbrella PAC associated with conservative Republican strategist Karl Rove.
The documents were sent out from the same Cincinnati office under investigation for putting tea party and other conservative groups through a tougher screening process than normally required by the agency to grant tax-exempt status.
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