IRS Hearing: Dem Blames GOP for ‘Culture of Intimidation’

by Andrew Johnson

At today’s House Ways and Means Committee hearing, one Democratic congressman tried to turn the tables by claiming that Republicans are enabling “a culture of intimidation” against progressive groups targeted by the IRS. The claim of widespread targeting of such groups has been debunked.

“I demand that this Republican culture of intimidation against progressive groups be stopped,” said Representative Joe Crowley (D., N.Y.). Crowley said that the “outrage” Democrats expressed over the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups is not being reciprocated.

Crowley was referring to reports earlier this week that progressive groups were targeted alongside conservative and tea-party groups. National Review has shown that, in fact, tea-party groups received a unique level of scrutiny. Progressive groups could be approved by line agents, while tea-party applications were forwarded to IRS higher-ups. Earlier today, the Treasury Department’s inspector general sent a letter to the Ways and Means Committee’s ranking member, Sander Levin (D., Mich.), noting that his audit did not find that any progressive groups were targeted.

After Crowley’s time expired, committee chairman Dave Camp (R., Mich.) pointed to his opening statement, in which he said that no group should be targeted for its political beliefs.

Before beginning his questioning, Illinois Republican Aaron Schock asked Camp to remind the committee how many witnesses from targeted groups Democrats invited to a previous hearing. “There were none,” Camp responded.