GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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May 18, 2013

News in Brief

Investigator says he told top Treasury officials of IRS probe

WASHINGTON — Senior Treasury officials were made aware in June 2012 that investigators were looking into complaints from tea party groups that they were being harassed by the Internal Revenue Service, a Treasury inspector general said Friday, disclosing that Obama administration officials knew there was a probe during the heat of the presidential campaign.

J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, testified alongside ousted IRS head Steven Miller, who did little to subdue Republican outrage during hours of intense congressional questioning. Both defiant and apologetic, Miller acknowledged agency mistakes in targeting tea party groups for special scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status, but he insisted that agents broke no laws and that there was no effort to cover up their actions.

Miller only stoked the criticism of many Republicans, who are assailing the administration on a sudden spate of other controversies, as well, even as some Democrats tried to contain the political damage.

“I don’t know that I got any answers from you today,” Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., told Miller. “I am more concerned today than I was before.”

At one point in the day’s hearing, Treasury IG George said he had told the department’s general counsel about his investigation on June 4, 2012, and Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin “shortly thereafter.” But, George cautioned, those discussions were “not to inform them of the results of the audit. It was to inform them of the fact that we were conducting the audit.”

House GOP raps Dems for taking IRS union cash

WASHINGTON — Seeking maximum political gain from the string of controversies swirling around the White House, Republicans are on the attack against Democratic lawmakers who accepted donations from the union that represents Internal Revenue Service employees.

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