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Democrats Ask Gowdy to Subpoena IRS Inspector General for Documents on Flawed So-Called “Targeting” Report

Mar 1, 2018
Press Release

Democrats Ask Gowdy to Subpoena

IRS Inspector General for Documents on

Flawed So-Called “Targeting” Report

 

Washington, D.C. (Mar. 1, 2018)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform joined Rep. Gerald E. Connolly and Rep. Matthew Cartwright in sending a letter asking Chairman Trey Gowdy to issue a subpoena to compel J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), to finally produce a document he has been withholding for years relating to his office’s 2013 report on the supposed targeting of certain tax-exempt organizations.

Although this request is several years old, today’s letter comes in the context of recent Republican efforts to initiate new investigations of Inspectors General, including at the Department of Homeland Security.

In 2013, TIGTA issued a now-infamous report entitled, Inappropriate Criteria Were Used to Identify Tax-Exempt Applications for Review.  On the same day the report was issued, then-Chairman Darrell Issa stated on national television:  “This was the targeting of the president’s political enemies effectively and lies about it during the election year.”

To the contrary, the Committee’s subsequent investigation, which involved 39 detailed and lengthy interviews, showed definitively that none of the witnesses identified any evidence that the White House was involved in any way, none reported any political motivation, and none reported ever observing anyone else involved in the screening process acting on behalf of the White House or out of any political motivation.

On February 5, 2014, Connolly and Cartwright sent a detailed, 22-page complaint to the governing body of Inspectors General—the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE)—raising serious concerns about the partisan and flawed report.  They warned that TIGTA appeared to engage in a partisan process; gave incomplete, inaccurate, and misleading responses to questions; left glaring deficiencies and omissions in its final product; failed to give Congress timely notification of new developments; and made statements that could be viewed as attempts to intimidate congressional criticism of audit methods and conclusions. 

“TIGTA produced a fundamentally flawed performance audit of the activities of the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division that harmed the public interest to such a severe extent that trust and confidence in TIGTA’s independence, ethics, competence, and quality control have been called into question and its effectiveness is threatened,” they wrote.

In response, George reportedly issued his own response to CIGIE, but he has refused for years to produce it to Congress.  Following unsuccessful staff requests, Connolly and Cartwright sent a letter to George on February 26, 2015, requesting the response directly from him, but he has repeatedly refused to provide it.

The Members asked that if Gowdy decides not to issue this subpoena himself, he allow Committee Members to debate and vote on a motion to subpoena TIGTA at the Committee’s next regularly scheduled business meeting. 

Click here to read today’s letter.

 

115th Congress