Treasury inspector general for tax administration J. Russell George defended his integrity and objectivity in a hearing today over the IRS tea-party targeting scandal.
George oversaw the investigation into the IRS that found evidence of the deliberate targeting of tea-party groups applying for tax-exempt status. Some Democrats have criticized the investigation, arguing either outright or indirectly that George acted in a partisan manner that misled Congress to promote a conservative narrative. They have pointed out that George was appointed to his position in 2004 by President Bush and that he once interned for Senator Bob Dole.
Today in a hearing held by the House Oversight Committee, Representative Trey Gowdy derided such criticisms as “disgraceful” and gave George a chance to respond to the allegations.
“They don’t know that I was paid at the 1980 Democratic National Convention,” said George. “They don’t know that I was a founder of the Howard University College Democrats.” He continued: “Anyone who has worked with me on either side of the political spectrum will agree that I call it as I see it.”
At times, George seemed to get emotional as he discussed criticisms of his integrity. “I have never allowed personal political views to affect decisions,” he said. “I am serving the people of the greatest nation on earth, and I have no regrets.”
Democratic lawmakers have argued that progressive groups were targeted by the IRS, but as National Review Online has documented, liberal groups did not receive additional scrutiny in their applications for tax-exempt status.