Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday that he's ordered a Justice Department probe into an IRS program that singled out Tea Party and other conservative groups for additional scrutiny in their applications for tax-exempt status.
Holder announced the investigation during a press conference in Washington. He said the FBI was coordinating with the Department of Justice to see if any laws were broken. He called the practice "outrageous and unacceptable," echoing remarks from President Obama a day earlier.
The probe comes as newly obtained documents show the current IRS chief knew about the agency's targeting of Tea Party groups as early as May 2012 and other officials in Washington were clued in more than a year before that.
The additional details were provided in a timeline from the office of Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, based on briefings by the inspector general's office investigating the case. Together, they challenged the agency's initial claims that the practice of flagging conservative groups for additional scrutiny was contained to low-level staffers at a Cincinnati office.
The timeline shows that Steven Miller, the acting IRS chief who at the time was a deputy commissioner, was briefed on the practice on May 3, 2012. Despite this briefing, Miller wrote letters to members of Congress at least twice to explain the process of reviewing applications for tax-exempt status without disclosing that Tea Party groups had been targeted. On July 25, 2012, Miller testified before the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee, but again did not mention the additional scrutiny -- despite being asked about it.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., blasted Miller over the revelation.
"It is almost inconceivable to imagine that top officials at the IRS knew conservative groups were being targeted but chose to willfully mislead the Committee's investigation into this practice," he said in a statement. Read more via Fox News...