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May 21, 2013

IRS official will refuse to answer questions at House hearing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Lois Lerner, an Internal Revenue Service official who revealed that the agency was giving extra scrutiny to conservative groups, will assert her constitutional right not to answer questions from a congressional committee on Wednesday, her lawyer said in a letter obtained by Reuters.

“She has not committed any crime or made any misrepresentation but under the circumstances she has no choice but to take this course,” Lerner’s attorney, William Taylor, wrote to the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which is holding hearings into the IRS scandal.

May 21, 2013

Attention shifts to White House in IRS probe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two senior aides to President Barack Obama knew weeks ago about a watchdog report on the U.S. Internal Revenue Service targeting of conservative groups, a spokesman said on Monday, shifting the focus to the White House in a fast-moving controversy.

White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler was told on April 24 about an upcoming report by the Treasury’s Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) on the IRS practice, for which an IRS official apologized on May 10, triggering the controversy.

May 20, 2013

Pressure builds on officials to take heat for IRS scandal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Pressure was building on Monday for the Obama administration to fire more people linked to the Internal Revenue Service’s extra scrutiny of conservative groups, possibly including another top IRS official.

More than a week after a mid-level IRS employee apologized publicly for IRS agents’ use of terms such as “Tea Party” and “patriots” to target groups’ applications for tax-exempt status, Congress was preparing for two days of hearings on the matter.

May 18, 2013

IRS chief declines to identify employees involved in scandal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The outgoing head of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service angered Republican lawmakers on Friday by resisting their demands that he identify who at the tax-collection agency had inappropriately targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny.

But during the first hearing into a growing IRS scandal that could preoccupy Washington for months, Republicans did learn that a top official in President Barack Obama’s administration knew that the IRS was looking into targeting by the tax agency nearly a year ago.

May 17, 2013

Lawmakers accuse IRS officials of lying in tax scandal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Lawmakers accused leaders of the Internal Revenue Service of lying on Friday as they opened the first in a series of investigative hearings about the tax collection agency’s targeting of conservative groups.

Republicans and Democrats said senior IRS officials should have alerted Congress last year when they found out that their examiners were singling out Tea Party groups for intense scrutiny when the groups applied for tax-exempt status.

May 16, 2013

U.S. Republican targets IRS employees in Tea Party probe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Republicans probing the Internal Revenue Service want to question five employees about the tax agency’s targeting of the Tea Party and other conservative groups, an effort that a key lawmaker said on Wednesday was part of a fact-finding mission.

“It appears that a number of IRS employees played key roles in carrying out the improper scrutiny,” Republican Representative Darrell Issa, head of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, said in a letter to the IRS requesting transcribed interviews with the employees.

May 16, 2013

U.S. tax chief forced out in IRS scandal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Washington’s top tax official was fired on Wednesday as President Barack Obama sought to stem a rising tide of criticism over the Internal Revenue Service’s improper targeting of conservative groups for special scrutiny.

With three congressional probes of the IRS looming and Republicans’ calls for firings at the agency growing louder, Obama said he told Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to demand the resignation of Steven Miller, the acting IRS commissioner. Lew had done so, the president said.

May 16, 2013

U.S. tax chief fired over scandal, Obama announces

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Washington’s top tax official was fired on Wednesday as President Barack Obama sought to stem a rising tide of criticism in a scandal over the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups for special scrutiny.

Seeking to regain the initiative amid a series of controversies that have threatened his second-term agenda, Obama said new leadership was needed to restore public confidence in the IRS, whose reputation for political independence has suffered a major blow.

May 16, 2013

Tax chief fired over scandal, Obama announces

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Washington’s top tax official was fired on Wednesday as President Barack Obama sought to stem a rising tide of criticism in a scandal over the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups for special scrutiny.

Seeking to regain the initiative amid a series of controversies that have threatened his second-term agenda, Obama said new leadership was needed to restore public confidence in the IRS, whose reputation for political independence has suffered a major blow.

May 15, 2013

U.S. tax chief ousted in scandal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Washington’s top tax official was fired on Wednesday as President Barack Obama sought to stem a rising tide of criticism over the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups for special scrutiny.

Seeking to regain the initiative amid a series of controversies that have threatened his second-term agenda, Obama said new leadership was needed to restore public confidence in the IRS, whose reputation for political independence has suffered a major blow.