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As Treasury Secretary Dodges Questions on Investigation, IRS Scandal WIDENS

 AP

AP

(THE HILL) -- The Internal Revenue Service subjected already tax-exempt conservative groups to additional scrutiny, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) charged on Monday.

Issa said his committee would expand its probe into improper targeting of political groups to determine if the agency systematically reviewed conservative groups years after they had already been granted tax exemption.

"It has come to the attention of the committee that in addition to inappropriate treatment given to some applicants for tax-exempt status, existing organizations already recognized as tax-exempt by the IRS, appear to have faced questionable treatment by the IRS," he wrote in a letter to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) Monday. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), an Oversight subcommittee chairman, also signed on to the request for another investigation.

For example, Issa said the Virginia-based Leadership Institute was audited in 2011 and 2012 for activities it engaged in during the 2008 election year, even though it had functioned as a tax-exempt organization since 1979.

Issa said the group faced "invasive questions," including questions about interns and where they went on to work. The Institute told Issa it ended up turning over 23,000 pages of documents at a cost of roughly $50,000 to comply with the query.

The Institute states on its website that its mission is to "increase the number and effectiveness of conservative activists and leaders in the public policy process." It also includes a disclaimer at the bottom of its website stating that it is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, and does not endorse or oppose candidates or legislation.

Joseph Metzger, the vice president of finance at the Institute, told The Hill that the group had previously been audited twice before, once under President Clinton and again under President Reagan. Continue reading via The Hill...

 

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