IRS in hot seat – again. The ongoing investigation into the IRS targeting of conservative groups is back in focus as Congress returns from recess on Monday. The House Oversight Committee will hold another hearing into the agency, with new acting IRS commissioner Danny Werfel making his inaugural appearance. The Washington Post notes, ”Werfel’s presence could change the tenor of this hearing compared to the previous ones, since Werfel is new to the IRS,” but Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa was taking aim directly at the White House on the matter on Sunday, pointing fingers at Press Secretary Jay Carney. ”Their paid liar, their spokesperson….He’s still making up things about what happens and calling this a local rogue,” Carney said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” saying that soon-to-be-released transcripts would back up his accusations. But more bad news keeps trickling out for the embattled agency, with a new report on government spending set to show the IRS spent millions of dollars on parody training videos and elaborate conferences.
Waiting on SCOTUS. The Supreme Court is expected to hand down several crucial decisions in the coming days, including a ruling on the Voting Rights Act, which NBC News’ Pete Williams notes that, “if the court were to strike down part of the law, which it has signaled a willingness to do in the past, it would dramatically reduce the federal government’s role in overseeing voter discrimination in a wide swath of the nation.” Other key decisions are expected on gay marriage and using racial preferences in college admissions decisions, along with a decision on whether a Utah-based company can enforce patents on human genes it received during the 1990s.
Turkey troubles. “War-torn Syria has warned its citizens not to travel to neighbor Turkey,” NBC News reports, “as Istanbul prepared for a fourth day of violent public demonstrations in which more than 1,000 have been injured.” The New York Times takes a deeper look at what is spurring the riots: Development and growth in the country “is not so much progress as a reflection of growing autocratic ambitions by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government. Anger and resentment boiled over onto the street over the past three days, as the police barraged demonstrators with tear gas and streams from water cannons — and as the protesters attacked bulldozers and construction trailers lined up next to the last park in the city’s centers….in full public view, a long struggle over urban spaces is erupting as a broader fight over Turkish identity, where difficult issues of religion, social class and politics intersect. And while most here acknowledge that every Turkish ruling class has sought to put its stamp on Istanbul, there is a growing sense that none has done so as insistently as the current government, led by Mr. Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party, despite growing resistance.”