Lew: IRS Must Reverse 'Deficit of Confidence'

Monday, 01 Jul 2013 02:57 PM

By Dan Weil

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Treasury Secretary Jack Lew acknowledges that the Internal Revenue Service has a long way to go in regaining the nation's trust.

The IRS is under fire for giving extra scrutiny to tax-exemption requests from conservative groups.

"It has to become a better customer service experience; it has to work well, and we know there's a deficit of confidence now that has to be rebuilt and that will be the job for the new commissioner of the IRS," Lew said at the Aspen Ideas Festival last weekend, The Hill reports.

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The agency's acting commissioner, Steven Miller, quit after the scandal. Danny Werfel, formerly controller of the Office of Management and Budget, took his place. But Werfel's title has been changed to principal deputy commissioner from acting commissioner.

Democratic congressmen claimed that liberal groups were subject to additional IRS investigation, too.

But an IRS inspector general report last week said that just 30 percent of groups with the word "progressive" received special scrutiny for their tax-exempt applications, while 100 percent of groups with "tea party," "patriot," or "9/12" in their names received it.

In a letter to congressional Democrats, Inspector General J. Russell George wrote, "from our audit work, we did not find evidence that the criteria you identified, labeled 'Progressives,' were used by the IRS to select potential political cases during the 2010 to 2012 time frame we audited."

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