The Senate Finance Committee will launch an investigation into the Internal Revenue Service targeting of tea party and other conservative groups, committee Chairman Max Baucus told acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller Tuesday.
"I was very firm, and I said it looks like you've got a big problem," Baucus said he told Miller.
According to Politico
, the Montana Democrat also told the embattled director that "there's still a lot not known, and we need to get to the bottom of this thing."
Baucus was the first lawmaker to meet with Miller following last week's revelations that since 2010, IRS employees have targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status by using difficult screening measures that went beyond the normal IRS questioning process.
According to news reports and a report by the agency's inspector general, IRS agents in Cincinnati singled out groups with the words "tea party" or "patriot" in their names for additional scrutiny.
Some lawmakers have called on President Barack Obama to fire Miller, saying that he lied about the targeting effort during an appearance before Congress a year ago and repeatedly ignored congressional requests for information about whether conservative groups were being singled out.
Utah GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch told reporters Tuesday he believes Miller "purposefully misled" him by not revealing the targeting effort to lawmakers.
Baucus did not say after his hour-long meeting with Miller whether he would pursue his resignation.
“I want to see all of the evidence first. I want to see the report,” he said, referring to the inspector general's report.
“This is early; I want to make sure I know what I’m doing. I want to know the facts,” he added.
For his part, Miller told reporters after the meeting that he is "open to talking to anybody and being as honest as we can."
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