UPDATED: House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp is trying to revive the IRS scandal.
The Michigan Republican was responding to a transcript from an interview conducted on Aug. 1 as part of the investigation into political targeting by IRS employees. During the interview, an IRS employee implied that though “Be On the Lookout” (or BOLO) lists no longer exist, agency policy is still to set aside applications by Tea Party-related groups for further scrutiny.
Here’s the transcript from the Ways and Means Committee interview:
Committee: Today, currently, how do you analyze advocacy cases. If, for example, Tea Party of Arkansas came in today, how would you handle it?
IRS agent: Well, the BOLO list doesn’t exist anymore.
IRS: If a political advocacy case came in today, I would give it–or talk about it to my manager because right now we really don’t have any direction or we haven’t had any for the last month and a half.
Committee: If you saw–I am asking this currently, if today if a Tea Party case, a group–a case from a Tea Party group came in to your desk, you reviewed the file and there was no evidence of political activity, would you potentially approve that case? Is that something you would do?
IRS agent: At this point I would send it to secondary screening, political advocacy.
Committee: So you would treat a Tea Party group as a political advocacy case even if there was no evidence of political activity on the application. Is that right?
IRS agent: Based on my current manager’s direction, uh-huh.
“It is outrageous that IRS management continues to target Tea Party cases without any justification,” said Rep. Camp in a statement. “The harassment, abuse and delays these Americans have faced over the last few years has been unwarranted, unprovoked and, at times, possibly illegal. The fact that the IRS still continues to treat the Tea Party differently and subject them to additional targeting is outrageous and it must stop immediately.”
Rep. Camp and Oversight chairman Darrell Issa also wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post, criticizing the Obama administration for failing to ensure accountability at the IRS.
IRS officials say the agency has taken “decisive action” to eliminate the use of political labels in the screening process, policy updates that were outlined in June. “IRS policy is now clear that screening is based on activity, not words in a name,” the IRS said in a statement to msnbc. “The IRS will not tolerate any deviation from this.”
It was not clear whether the employee was asked if an application from group affiliated with progressive or liberal causes would also be pulled out for additional examination. After the so-called scandal first broke several months go, it was revealed that progressive groups had also been “targeted.”