Portman, Thune Call for More Hearings on IRS Targeting Scandal

Tuesday, 21 May 2013 11:23 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Two Republican members of the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday called for more hearings into the Internal Revenue Service scandal that involved targeting conservative and religious groups.

“We got more non-answers than answers today,” Sen. John Thune of South Dakota told Sean Hannity on Fox News. He was referring to the hearing the committee held earlier on Tuesday in which senators questioned by Douglas Shulman, the former IRS commissioner who left in November.

In his testimony, Shulman — who served the agency from 2008 to 2012 — said: “I certainly am not personally responsible for creating a list that had inappropriate criteria on it.”

That was as close to an apology the committee got from Shulman, whose tenure encompassed the entire time the targeting of certain groups occurred.

The Finance Committee also heard testimony from Steven Miller, who succeeded Shulman as Acting Commissioner but who was forced out after the scandal became public, and J. Russell George, a Treasury Department inspector general who completed a report on the politically charged practices.

“If you look at the way this thing’s played out, there were a lot of people involved who knew what was going on,” Thune told Hannity.

Thune noted that the White House knew in April of this year, but said nothing about it until after Lois Lerner, the director of the agency's exempt organizations division, disclosed it at an American Bar Association meeting earlier this month.

“Lots of unanswered questions,” Thune said. “That’s why we need to have more hearings, more of an opportunity to get the facts out there in front of the American people.”

His colleague on the committee, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, told Hannity of the entire debacle: “This is just a classic example of, unfortunately, a troubling pattern in this administration of putting politics ahead of the public interest.

“What we learned today was not only that this outrageous conduct was targeting American citizens, but also that they knew about it,” he said.

“This means that the American people did not hear about this — and it means that the practice was not shut down as soon as it could have been.”

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