Open thread: IRS hearings open on Capitol Hill, with live embed

posted at 9:16 am on May 17, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

The hearing was supposed to start at 9 ET in the House Ways and Means Oversight subcommittee, but it got started a little late. First up — former acting IRS Commissioner Steve Miller, who just got forcibly retired about a month early. CBS News has a live embed for those wanting to follow along:

CBS also has this primer for those coming late to the story:

After a week of information slowly trickling out about the political discrimination carried out by the IRS, the public will finally on Friday hear directly from those at the agency.

Public questioning begins in the House Ways and Means Committee, where the acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller and J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), will testify Friday morning. …

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., said in a statement that Miller’s resignation “does nothing to change the culture of discrimination at the IRS.”

“And, it certainly does nothing to change the fact that the tax system is targeting honest, hardworking taxpayers instead of working for them,” he continued. “There are still far too many unanswered questions and until we know what truly happened, we cannot fully fix what is wrong.”

Both Camp and the top Democrat on the committee, Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., have been extremely critical of the misconduct at the IRS, with Levin earlier this week calling for the resignation of both Miller and senior IRS official Lois Lerner.

Lerner is one of four witnesses invited to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee next Wednesday. However, Lerner has not yet confirmed whether or not she’ll be present, a spokesperson for the Oversight Committee told CBSNews.com. According to the spokesperson, Lerner’s lawyer — William Taylor of Zuckerman Spaeder LLP, who has represented high-profile clients like Dominique Strauss-Kahn — told the committee that Lerner is currently in Montreal.

Miller’s opening statement claimed that while mistakes were made, there was no partisan motivation involved.  Good luck with that argument.  I’ll update if and when significant developments occur.

Update: Max Baucus thinks we’re going to hear even worse from the Congressional hearings, although it might take a couple of weeks to get through it all:

Senior Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, who recently slapped Obamacare as a “train wreck,” believes that the IRS scandal is just beginning and that “a lot more” damaging information will be revealed, likely at congressional hearings.

“I have a hunch that a lot more is going to come out, frankly,” Baucus, whose pending retirement seems to have freed him up to speak bluntly, told Bloomberg’s “Capitol Gains” TV show.

“It’s broader than the current focus. And I think it’s important that we have the hearings, and I think that will encourage other information to come out that has not yet come out. I suspect that we will learn more in the next several days, maybe the next couple three weeks which adds more context to all of this,” added Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

By the way, they just put today’s witnesses explicitly under oath for this hearing, which is a little unusual.  Chairman Camp told the hearing that he’s insisting on the oath because of the IRS’ repeatedly misleading the panel in the past. Ouch.


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The last hour or so has been the strongest defense of liberty I’ve seen in a long, long, long time…

Kudos to the GOP Congressmen on this committee. It’s a shame 98% of this country won’t see a single second of today’s hearing.

Common Sense Floridian on May 17, 2013 at 12:51 PM

Miller just said he fixed the problem in May of 2012…

…but the targeting & abuse continued well beyond May of 2012.

easyt65 on May 17, 2013 at 12:51 PM

The flop sweat from these jerks could fill Lake Superior, every last one of them is right now measuring whether to spill the beans or go down in flames.

Bishop on May 17, 2013 at 12:36 PM

Go down with flaming beans?

Got the smoker going with a brisket right now. I think I’ll put on a pot of Anasazi beans with mild red chile. Popcorn just won’t do.

oldroy on May 17, 2013 at 12:51 PM

Just tweeted the Kraut-Hammer because nobody else seems interested. Heard from several sources (including on Ed’s show) that Cincinnati IRS office in question is not a hut in a cornfield or some rogue, isolated outpost but, rather, is THE office through which NP apps are processed — as in ALL of them.

Hellooooo out there. If this is true, will somebody in a news organization tell the rest of the world? How is this not news? I listened to the show yesterday and, despite numerous wide open doors, it was never mentioned. This is very important to piercing the smokescreen being thrown up by the WH.

If it’s not true, then let’s find out.

The typical path of the story is this: It happened in only the Cincinnati office… Not true, there were other offices involved… People at IRS HQ probably knew, too!!

What about, YES, Cincinnati was involved, because that’s where these applications are processed!

IndieDogg on May 17, 2013 at 12:52 PM

The wheels are coming off with great rapidity! This ain’t going away Mr. President!

tomshup on May 17, 2013 at 12:52 PM

Was that it? Was that the entire investigation / hearing? Or are they done for today?

easyt65 on May 17, 2013 at 12:53 PM

Well, there went my day. I decided to click, and some of that was downright riveting. Wow.

CJ on May 17, 2013 at 12:53 PM

Griffin

I heard from a constituent who is meeting with the IRS…He told me
They asked me how much do you or your wife carry in your wallet…Do you use the internet?

To IG George

You didn’t ask for e-mails…This is not an investigation – Griffin

It was an audit – IG George

Sen. Levin’s letter names groups you targeted…You did what democrats were asking – Griffin

Brings up Bonuses…What she got was bonuses and is now at HHS – Griffin

That means IRS can share Tax info with HHS – Griffin

Griffin Rocks!

workingclass artist on May 17, 2013 at 12:54 PM

SWELL! Dang that was awesome sauce!

MontanaMmmm on May 17, 2013 at 12:55 PM

Geez, Matt Drudge is having a field day. He’s probably the one guy in the country that doesn’t have to fear for his life or property.

a capella on May 17, 2013 at 12:38 PM

Jay Leno too. Only the very wealthy can speak freely in the Rat-Eared Ba$tard’s America.

slickwillie2001 on May 17, 2013 at 12:55 PM

Renacci – Former CPA

Mr. Miller inappropiate or illegal – Renacci

I’ve seen what you do to people when they answer I don’t know – Renacci

Quotes IRS questions to Life,Faith and Freedom group…

Our areas are to determine what’s politics and whats education – Miller

Why the approvals after the election?

workingclass artist on May 17, 2013 at 12:58 PM

THAT WAS AWESOME !!!!

pambi on May 17, 2013 at 12:59 PM

Fred Astaire would be proud of Miller’s tap dancing. I’ve never seen someone use so many words and answer so little. I heard one democrat on CSPAN say that he was upset with the character assassination of the IRS because he always found them to be helpful and professional. Now I know democrats are delusional.

bandutski on May 17, 2013 at 1:00 PM

These IRS hearings make clear…The Federal Government is after Conservatives…We have become enemies of the State – Rush

workingclass artist on May 17, 2013 at 1:01 PM

And have been for some time. It coincides with the push for stricter (and eventual confisaction) gun control.

darwin on May 17, 2013 at 1:00 PM

Can someone please expain to me how someone in government can break the law and violate Contitutional rights, then when caught red-handed and lying about it, they resign, and take all of their retirement, pension, and health care with them, while the President is reported to have fired them.

In the private world when someone is fired, they can and usually lose anythign the company did and would have provided for retirement and pension, and company supported retiree health care.

How the does this hell square with what goes on in government?

Why is Eric Holder not in jail if he lied to Congress?
Is that not why Scooter Libby went to jail?

Tenwheeler on May 17, 2013 at 1:01 PM

These IRS hearings make clear…The Federal Government is after Conservatives…We have become enemies of the State – Rush

workingclass artist on May 17, 2013 at 1:01 PM

These IRS hearings make clear…The Federal Government is after Conservatives…We have become enemies of the State – Rush

workingclass artist on May 17, 2013 at 1:01 PM

I would add that Conservatives have become enemies of the Republican party also. And that there is little difference between at least the leadership of the Republican party, and the Democrats and the administration.

The Dems haven’t lied. They’ve told us for generation what they want even though we claim they don’t. They’ve told us they are coming after us. They’ve told us they want control of the press. None of this should be a surprise.

The lying scumbag money suckers at the Republican party are the problem. A two party system has to have two parties willing to be in the game. What we know now is that the game was rigged for the past 40 years.

oldroy on May 17, 2013 at 1:01 PM

The last 30-40 minutes of the hearing was dominated by angry republicans who quoted letters, IRS questions,wanted names of those involved…

It was Epic…

Griffin is right…Miller’s testimony should scare the daylights out of every American.

The IRS demanded to know the content of applicants prayers…wallet contents…associations with named individuals…candidate signage in yard…teaching materials…book club lists…

Every targeted group should post these questionaires online at a central site.

workingclass artist on May 17, 2013 at 1:02 PM

I have a question for Mr. Miller, who thinks there’s nothing wrong (other than big caseloads and confusion) with the IRS targeting groups.

What if we added this question to those the IRS was asking:

“Who did you vote for in the last Presidential Election?”

Anything wrong with that, Mr. Miller?

If so, then the same goes for the rest of this garbage because that’s exactly what they were trying to find out, were these people supporters of the Administration’s agenda (i.e., the President), or not.

This is an appropriate activity for a revenue collection agency?

IndieDogg on May 17, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Can someone please expain to me how someone in government can break the law and violate Contitutional rights, then when caught red-handed and lying about it, they resign, and take all of their retirement, pension, and health care with them, while the President is reported to have fired them.

In the private world when someone is fired, they can and usually lose anythign the company did and would have provided for retirement and pension, and company supported retiree health care.

How the does this hell square with what goes on in government?

Why is Eric Holder not in jail if he lied to Congress?
Is that not why Scooter Libby went to jail?

Tenwheeler on May 17, 2013 at 1:01 PM

Welcome to the world of gigantic, corrupt government … comrade Tenwheeler.

All governments like this are corrupt and work to protect and grow themselves.

It only gets worse.

darwin on May 17, 2013 at 1:04 PM

Hope someone recorded Mike Kelly’s ass reaming of Miller.

franksalterego on May 17, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Rush is saying what I have been thinking. This has come out now to coverup Benghazi. Both are bad but Benghazi is really bad. Bob Woodward says the Benghazi scandal is comparable to Watergate.

fight like a girl on May 17, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Megyn Kelly is going to interview Jay Sekulow about suing the IRS. Sekulow is awesome. I’m glad he’s on our side.

BuckeyeSam on May 17, 2013 at 1:20 PM

libnotfree should ask himself “how would I be treated if the presidency were like Obama, with a R behind name”.

Schadenfreude on May 17, 2013 at 1:23 PM

Buckeye Sam, that’s great.

The biggest class action suit of all time.

There need to be criminal charges as well. To target groups who are educating people about the Constitution and Bill of Rights is to actively work to subvert the Constitution and deny the rights of the American citizens. It’s a passive-aggressive move to overthrow the United States. If that doesn’t qualify as treason, then what does?

INC on May 17, 2013 at 1:27 PM

Rush is saying what I have been thinking. This has come out now to coverup Benghazi. Both are bad but Benghazi is really bad. Bob Woodward says the Benghazi scandal is comparable to Watergate.

fight like a girl on May 17, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Multi Task.

Benghazi will take down Obama & Hillary

IRS might lead directly to the DNC…

workingclass artist on May 17, 2013 at 1:28 PM

Is it still America?

Schadenfreude on May 17, 2013 at 1:35 PM

libtard, how do you like living in Russia?

Schadenfreude on May 17, 2013 at 1:36 PM

The big question is this: Will the Republicans overplay their hand and will this wind up hurting the Republicans in 2014? Signed – LSM /

TarheelBen on May 17, 2013 at 1:52 PM

Rush is saying what I have been thinking. This has come out now to coverup Benghazi. Both are bad but Benghazi is really bad. Bob Woodward says the Benghazi scandal is comparable to Watergate.

fight like a girl on May 17, 2013 at 1:17 PM

I’m not sure that is true. In Benghazi, the most I think we will be able to prove is that the Obama admin was incompetent, costing the lives of four Americans and that they then lied about it to cover up the incompetence. I don’t think either of those things is a crime. they are terrible, yes, but not crimes. It will hurt Obama, but I don’t think it will destroy him. Unfortunately, most Americans don’t care if politicians lie and I don’t perceive most Americans as caring about what happened in Benghazi.

The IRS scandal is probably criminal. Using the gov’t to harass and punish your political opponents is more than incompetence or dishonesty.

Monkeytoe on May 17, 2013 at 1:57 PM

The wheels are coming off with great rapidity! This ain’t going away Mr. President!

tomshup on May 17, 2013 at 12:52 PM

No it’s not going away. I expect to see an impeachment hearing (ewww) be saying President Biden in 2016. I think that this is going to be as costly to the Democrats as Nixon was to us.

Overall these various scandals will strengthen the country, because the normal, non political junkies, will remember and think about it when they vote. This presidency – the crowning glory of Big Government – will be remembered as the raw misuse of government power for political gain.

talking_mouse on May 17, 2013 at 2:07 PM

Funny comment from a poster at another forum:

“Worst Steve Miller concert ever.”

Another poster followed up:

“Lie like an Eagle.”

A+

Del Dolemonte on May 17, 2013 at 2:11 PM

-Mr. Miller, please state your full name for the record.

“I don’t know.”

Bishop on May 17, 2013 at 12:16 PM

HEH!

I didn’t know this guy played in the NBA.

ToddPA on May 17, 2013 at 2:24 PM

Just tweeted the Kraut-Hammer because nobody else seems interested. Heard from several sources (including on Ed’s show) that Cincinnati IRS office in question is not a hut in a cornfield or some rogue, isolated outpost but, rather, is THE office through which NP apps are processed — as in ALL of them.

IndieDogg on May 17, 2013 at 12:52 PM

I was wondering if this was the case.

IOW, the geographic location of the office is irrelevant.

That office is ground zero, the epicenter, the centralized clearinghouse for all NP apps. And obviously it reports directly to Washington DC.

farsighted on May 17, 2013 at 2:29 PM

If the Inspector General and the acting Head of the IRS are unable to tell who was responsible for these policies, how were they able to determine that the policies were not politically motivated?

EricS on May 17, 2013 at 2:59 PM

The part that scares the democrats is that they judge based on their own immorality so they are frightened of when the republicans are in control.

TerryW on May 17, 2013 at 3:01 PM


The IRS scandal is probably criminal. Using the gov’t to harass and punish your political opponents is more than incompetence or dishonesty.

Monkeytoe on May 17, 2013 at 1:57 PM

I’m willing to go out on a limb at this point and recommend that you may safely drop the ‘probably’ qualifier.

Tsar of Earth on May 17, 2013 at 3:04 PM

Monkeytoe,

I predict that Benghazi will be bigger than IRSGate. Right now, we’re just dealing with the cover-up. When someone within the CIA comes forward and tells how we were arming the rebels in Libya and then were trying to recover the weapons to arm the rebels in Syria, the final shoe will drop. There is no way that was done without Obama or Clinton knowing about it.

I’m also predicting that all these scandals, and more, and their investigations, will drag on until late next year. We must be patient. Impeachment now is meaningless. Obama will never be convicted in the Senate trial and removed from office until there are more “R’s” than “D’s” in the Senate. We need to take back the Senate, then impeach, remove, and send the whole bunch to prison.

GAlpha10 on May 17, 2013 at 3:13 PM

The last hour or so has been the strongest defense of liberty I’ve seen in a long, long, long time…

Kudos to the GOP Congressmen on this committee. It’s a shame 98% of this country won’t see a single second of today’s hearing.

Common Sense Floridian on May 17, 2013 at 12:51 PM

+

Kudos? Doesn’t take much to please you does it. Vote for a guy and pat him on the back for “strong words” and a verbal defense of liberty.

How about some Congressional oversight here that results in impeachment and people going to jail?

Oh that’s right – it’s the GOP that would have to do all that!

LMFAO!!

HondaV65 on May 17, 2013 at 4:14 PM

I predict that Benghazi will be bigger than IRSGate. Right now, we’re just dealing with the cover-up. When someone within the CIA comes forward and tells how we were arming the rebels in Libya and then were trying to recover the weapons to arm the rebels in Syria, the final shoe will drop. There is no way that was done without Obama or Clinton knowing about it.

I’m also predicting that all these scandals, and more, and their investigations, will drag on until late next year. We must be patient. Impeachment now is meaningless. Obama will never be convicted in the Senate trial and removed from office until there are more “R’s” than “D’s” in the Senate. We need to take back the Senate, then impeach, remove, and send the whole bunch to prison.

GAlpha10 on May 17, 2013 at 3:13 PM

I’m not saying that isn’t possible. But until some evidence comes forward to that effect, incompetence and dishonesty alone (Benghazi) aren’t enough to get most voters interested.

As far as impeachment – if we are in the last 2 years of Obama’s term at that point (after the 2014 elections), I don’t see the point. Obama isn’t going to go to jail even if convicted in the Senate – I believe (but may be wrong) that Presidents have immunity from criminal prosecution for actions taken in office.

Plus, impeachment in the house and then trial in the Senate would take a year or more – meaning we would remove Obama with what – 6 months left in his term? And, all of that would wear on the mushy middle (and still probably wouldn’t result in a conviction in the Senate knowing most GOP Senators). And, during that time Obama would become the “victim” and start garnering support again, a la Clinton.

I say (unless we uncover rock-solid smoking gun evidence that Obama committed a significant crime that would ordinarily carry multiple year prison sentences) forget impeachment and just keep investigating and hang all the scandals around the dems’ necks in 2014 and again in 2016. Use the scandals to brand the left as the corrupt, power-mad jerks they are and to educate the public about the problems inherent in big gov’t.

Monkeytoe on May 17, 2013 at 4:39 PM

Kudos? Doesn’t take much to please you does it. Vote for a guy and pat him on the back for “strong words” and a verbal defense of liberty.

How about some Congressional oversight here that results in impeachment and people going to jail?

Oh that’s right – it’s the GOP that would have to do all that!

LMFAO!!

HondaV65 on May 17, 2013 at 4:14 PM

How about dumb asses like you stop voting for democratics?

slickwillie2001 on May 17, 2013 at 4:46 PM

The wrongs which we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant and so devastating that our country cannot tolerate their being ignored, because it cannot survive their being repeated.

TimeOnTarget on May 17, 2013 at 6:14 PM

Is there anyone at Slate or who reads Slate that doesnt see this carnival show in Washington for what it is? That show today with the IG and the acting IRS chief was such a charade. Even Charlie Rangel a sitting tax cheat got in on the act feinging indignation. Their plan of course is to have this little show, fire this Miller guy, and then say see its fixed you can give the IRS your personal health information and trust they will not do anything malevolent with it. ROFLMAO!!!!!

paulsur on May 17, 2013 at 7:11 PM

Whose is directly responsible? Obama. When the underlings do illicit activities that help the top guy (Obama in this case) and there is no real penalties dished out by the top man when the underlings are caught, you should assume the top man essentially ordered the illicit activities (without a paper trail, of course). No superior wants to penalize his underlings for following his orders – it’s even dangerous to do so. I believe Obama essentially orchestrated this IRS outrage. And the AP email monitoring outrage.

Chessplayer on May 17, 2013 at 7:52 PM

The new spin, and talking point… It’s not a scandal, its “mismanagement”.

Where “mismanagement” means using government power to selectively target and suppress political opponents.

So, basically, all third world countries run by totalitarian authoritarians socialist thugs are being “mismanaged”.

And the Soviet Union was “mismanaged”.

China is also being “mismanaged”. And North Korea, too.

farsighted on May 17, 2013 at 10:00 PM

The wrongs which we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant and so devastating that our country cannot tolerate their being ignored, because it cannot survive their being repeated.

TimeOnTarget on May 17, 2013 at 6:14 PM

Well said.

AesopFan on May 17, 2013 at 10:12 PM

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